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Hungary ‘unfairly’ attacked over sanctions – foreign minister

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said that his country has been receiving unjustified attacks for being honest about its dependence on energy supplies from Russia.

“We’re looking at this issue solely from the perspective of Hungarian national interests. We’re not interested in what the East or the West thinks about it,” Szijjarto said on Tuesday during a meeting with his Kazakhstani counterpart Mukhtar Tleuberdi.

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“The real security of supplies is an issue for us because it’s currently physically impossible to run the Hungarian economy without Russian oil.”

The minister stressed that Hungary gets around 65% of its oil from Russia through the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline.

Budapest confirmed earlier that it will not back an embargo on Russian oil and gas as part of EU sanctions on Moscow over its military campaign in Ukraine.

Szijjarto said that Hungary had voted for all of the previous sanctions packages but is still receiving “unjust and unfair” attacks.

One of the reasons for this, of course, may be that we’re being frank about the fact that we’re not prepared to give up the security of our country’s energy supply.

The EU promised to do away with Russian fossil fuels by 2030 but stopped short of an immediate ban on oil and gas, defying calls from Kiev to do so.

Reuters reported on Monday that Brussels may exempt Hungary and neighboring Slovakia from an embargo on Russian oil, which could be included in the latest batch of sanctions.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

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