Hungary put a “blockade” in the adoption of measures to ban Russian oil and other European sanctions agreed against Moscow, under the pretext of lifting the sanctions proposed against Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.
Bloomberg sources say that EU ambassadors may meet again today in Luxembourg to try to get approval for the Union’s sixth set of sanctions, targeting Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
The leaders of the 27 meeting at the summit on Monday and Tuesday in Brussels reached an agreement to cut Russian oil imports by about 90% by the end of the year in order to stop financing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
However, during the closed-door meeting on Wednesday, when ambassadors are trying to finalize sanctions, Hungary requested that Patriarch Kirill, long considered an ally of President Vladimir Putin and one of the main supporters of the Russian military offensive against Ukraine, should be removed from the list of persons subject to sanctions.
According to Bloomberg sources, the Hungarian request was not put forward by Orbán among the leaders at Monday’s summit.
Hungary crossed the line at the ambassadorial meeting and the climate was not good, the same sources say, commenting that ‘Hungary’s stance in the talks was scandalous’, to the point where the French EU Presidency stated at the meeting that the credibility of the ambassadors and the European Council was at stake.
It is characteristic that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had agreed to this new package of sanctions that were to be finalized on Wednesday during a meeting of ambassadors before its publication in the EU’s official newspaper for its entry into force.
Hungary’s latest intervention came at the EU ambassadors’ meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and exacerbates the country’s already deteriorating relations with the EU, which may cause speculation if Hungary follows the UK outside the EU.
This embargo is the flagship measure of the EU’s sixth sanctions package, which provides for the extension of the EU blacklist to around 60 persons, including Patriarch Kirill, and the exclusion of three Russian banks from the international Swift interbank system, including Sberbank, Russia’s main financial institution.
Budapest is being consulted in an effort to overcome Hungary’s opposition, a diplomatic source said.