Hungarian FM on Russia's war in Ukraine: 'We want peace, not another sanctions package'

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto doesn't rule out vetoing a ninth package of sanctions against Russia over its war on Ukraine – a package that is currently being prepared by the EU, along with a proposed price cap on Russian oil. "We want peace, not another [sanctions] package," he says. "We are a direct neighbour of Ukraine. The impact of the war on us is immediate and severe," he asserts. Szijjarto defends his country's close energy ties with Moscow and responds to the EU's continuing accusations of corruption. The day after this interview was recorded, the EU Commission president announced that she would recommend the freezing of payments to Hungary under the EU pandemic recovery fund as well as under regular EU cohesion funds, because of rule of law concerns in Hungary.

Asked whether his recent speech at an energy forum in sanctions-hit Russia sent the wrong signal to his EU partners, Szijjarto replied: "We have always considered the energy issue as physical, not ideological. The fact that we are cooperating with Russia is not because of our political taste, or for fun, but because of the infrastructure determination of the region. If you look at a map of central Europe, when it comes to pipelines, when it comes to grids, then you understand very clearly that, for my country, it is impossible to supply enough oil and gas without Russia."

Produced by Perrine Desplats, Isabelle Romero and Sophie Samaille

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