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Hungary PM Viktor Orban says Russia sanctions imposed by EU should be scrapped

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told his ruling Fidesz party that sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union should be scrapped, the pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet reported late on Wednesday.

Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs confirmed the comments in an emailed reply to Reuters.

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Orban, a harsh critic of EU sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, made the remarks at a closed-door meeting of his party members on Wednesday, before the start of the autumn political season.

Magyar Nemzet cited Orban as saying -- without giving a source -- that the EU sanctions have driven up gas prices and inflation, and if these measures were to be scrapped, gas prices would drop by 50 percent immediately while inflation would also fall.

Without sanctions, Europe could regain strength and could avoid a looming recession, the report quoted Orban as saying, reiterating his earlier stance that the sanctions were hurting Europe more than Russia.

On his Facebook page, Orban posted from the party meeting:

“The Brussels sanctions have pushed Europe into an energy crisis.”

In July, Orban said the EU had “shot itself in the lungs” with ill-considered economic sanctions on Russia, which, unless rolled back, risked destroying the European economy.

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