Russian oil ban not enough to stop them funding war, expert says
Since the start of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, the EU has strongly condemned Moscow and supported kyiv with arms and funds. However, as the EU seeks to push through an oil embargo against Russia, Hungary has warned that a total ban could be an economic “atomic bomb”.
Mr Orban insisted on Friday that Hungary would not support a new round of proposed EU sanctions against Russia if they included a ban on Russian oil exports.
He said: “We cannot accept a proposal that ignores this circumstance because, in its current form, it amounts to an atomic bomb dropped on the Hungarian economy.”
The Hungarian leader’s decision was not well received by Belgian politician Guy Verhofstadt, who was the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe from 2009 to 2019.
Mr. Verhodstadt tweeted: “Orbán wants European taxpayers’ money to accept an EU oil ban against Russia. Just appalling.
“His blackmail makes the EU dysfunctional, a gift for the Kremlin assassins. It’s time for reform, it’s time to end unanimity in EUCO.
Viktor Orban has been defended after claiming he was ‘Putin’s puppet’
Hungary has refused to support a total embargo on Russian oil, drawing criticism
Speaking to Sky News, the UK’s former ambassador to Russia, Sir Andrew Wood, also called Mr Orban “a close and not-so-close friend of Putin”.
He told the broadcaster: “The Hungarians, Viktor Orban, a close and not so close friend of Putin, indicated that he was not for the package yet unless there was some protection for the Hungary which receives a lot of oil from Russia.
“But that requires the unanimous consent of all 27 EU members.
“But the thing is, we’re not going to end this conflict until Putin is deprived of oil and gas revenue, so one way or another we have to keep tightening up those sanctions.”
READ MORE: Ukraine LIVE: Putin’s defense minister tipped as successor
Attila Demko said the demands were ‘grossly unfair’, noting Hungary’s refugee aid
Demko noted that sanctions on Russian oil would be “painful for Hungary” and other EU states
Responding to outrage over Hungary’s refusal to ban Russian oil exports outright, Attila Demko, a Hungarian security policy expert and former diplomat, said Orban’s claims about Putin were “extremely unjust”.
He wrote for Spiked: “Hungary’s president, prime minister and parliament have all condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a barbaric and unprovoked attack on a sovereign country.
“They also condemned alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops. Does it look like a nation too close to Russia?
“Hungary has clearly rallied to Ukraine’s side. More than 600,000 refugees have been welcomed with open hearts in a country of less than 10 million inhabitants.
“According to the UN, more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees remained in Hungary. To put that into perspective, that would equate to four million refugees entering the UK and 700,000 remaining. »
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Demko warned sanctions could ‘free Russia from being even more destructive in Ukraine’
Mr Demko noted that Hungary was not as “robust on sanctions against Russia as the UK or some other EU member states”, but stressed that sanctions taken by the bloc would be “painful for Hungary”.
He noted that the country had ‘already voted for five rounds of EU sanctions’, and said Slovakia and other EU countries would also ‘suffer’ from the bloc’s outright ban on oil. .
Mr Demko said then that “the loss of oil exports to Hungary would mean next to nothing for Russia” and would “deeply harm the Hungarian economy”.
The expert also wondered whether the sanctions would “free Russia from being even more destructive in Ukraine”, as oil and energy still transit through Kyiv.
He then said: “Hungary, as a neighbor and as a member of both NATO and the EU, stands with Ukraine.
“But wishing for realities to disappear would only serve the diehards of Moscow. And an economically weakened Central Europe would be much less able to help Ukraine.
The EU has revised its embargo to allow Hungary to use Russian oil until 2024
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a conference organized by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that it was ‘not easy to establish unity’ over the proposed oil embargo .
She added: “The countries that are hesitating now are not ready yet. We are sitting down with these countries to find pragmatic solutions, such as getting alternative oil to these countries.”
European sources told Reuters that the European Commission had amended its oil embargo proposal to address concerns expressed by member states.
The amended plan would allow Hungary and Slovakia to continue importing Russian oil until the end of 2024.
The original proposal would have stopped imports of Russian oil into the EU within six months and refined petroleum products by the end of 2022.