Budapest is blocking Ukraine's 18 billion support package to put pressure on Brussels and prevent the freezing of money for Hungary over its democratic backsliding, Politico reported, citing four EU officials and diplomats who see this move as a "blackmail tactic."
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Hungary "shouldn't play poker" in this situation, which concerns "saving lives" as up to 40% of Ukraine's energy infrastructure was destroyed.
Baerbock said the aid package must be approved quickly as "winter is just around the corner."
The European Commission proposed an 18 billion support package on Nov. 9 to assist Ukraine with paying for essential public services, maintaining macroeconomic stability, and restoring critical infrastructure destroyed by Russian attacks.
Hungary didn't support the aid package at an EU ambassadors' meeting on the same day, according to three officials cited by Politico. The EU can't allocate the money without the backing of all 27 union countries, as the budget rules require unanimity.