Ukraine has “a wonderful lever of pressure” on Hungary via the Druzhba – which translates to ‘Friendship’ – oil pipeline, Ukrainian energy minister adviser Lana Zerkal claimed on Thursday.
Speaking during an online discussion at the Kiev Security Forum, Zerkal criticized the policy of the Hungarian government, which is blocking a sixth round of EU sanctions, one which would ban Russian oil. The Western countries have been imposing harsh restrictions since late February, when Moscow launched its military attack on Ukraine.
In Zerkal’s opinion, Hungary is using the Russian military offensive as an instrument to achieve its own goals and thinks that now it “can demand anything” from the EU.
“Ukraine has a wonderful lever of pressure in its hands – it’s the Druzhba oil pipeline,” Zerkal said, adding that “something could happen” with Hungary’s separate line of Druzhba.
“And, in my opinion, it would be very appropriate if something happened to it. But, again, it is in the hands of the government and the president to make decisions on political issues, to decide if we really want to talk to [Hungarian President Viktor] Orban in a language that he understands and that he imposes on the EU, or if we are not ready for that yet,” Zerkal stressed.
Zerkal later took to Facebook to clarify “her humble opinion” that “caused a diplomatic scandal,” saying “facts are a stubborn thing.”
“But, to calm the situation, it is worth specifying that the official position of the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine on this matter is unchanged. Ukraine is a reliable transporter of energy carriers to Europe,” she stressed.