Anger at Ukrainian action: Hungary wants to stand in the way of new EU sanctions


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Anger at Ukrainian actions
Hungary wants to stand in the way of new EU sanctions

Hungary is once again proving to be a drag on EU sanctions against Russia. Because Ukraine sees the country’s largest bank as a war sponsor, Budapest apparently does not want to support the next planned package of measures.

Hungary threatens to block new EU sanctions on Russia. As long as Hungary’s largest bank OTP is on a Ukrainian list of supporters of the Russian war of aggression, the Hungarian government will hardly be able to negotiate new sanctions that require further victims, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Sweden. The fact that Ukraine put the bank on the list is scandalous. This did not violate any laws.

Last Friday, the EU Commission submitted proposals for an eleventh package of sanctions against Russia to the governments of the member states. Above all, it is intended to combat the circumvention of the penal measures that have already been issued. However, further trade restrictions are also planned, which could theoretically also affect the business of Hungarian companies.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell declined to comment on Szijjarto’s statements. At the evening press conference on the ministerial meeting, he said that the Hungarian minister’s comments had not been heard. In principle, however, it is no secret that Hungary does not believe in the effectiveness of sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NACP) put Bank OTP on its list of war sponsors in early May. She justified this by saying that even after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian OTP bank was one of the leading banks on the Russian financial services market. By continuing the financial operations of the Russian entity, the OTP group clearly shows support for terrorism.

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