Hungary will block further European Union financial aid to Ukraine for what its foreign minister said was an “increasingly belligerent attitude on the part of Kyiv toward its European Union neighbor.”
Hungary will block a further €500 million euro ($542 million) tranche of EU financial assistance to Ukraine for now and would be reluctant to back further sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday.
“It’s fair to say that we’ve had enough,” he said at a briefing in Vienna.
Szijjarto listed three developments that underpinned Hungary’s decision. They included Ukraine’s decision to add OTP Bank Nyrt., Hungary’s largest lender, to a list that shames companies that continue to do business in Russia.
He also said that Ukraine was limiting the educational rights of the country’s ethnic Hungarian citizens. He pointed to a report from the Washington Post suggesting that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had at one point talked about blowing up the pipeline delivering oil from Russia to Hungary via Ukraine.
“I want to make clear that as long as Ukraine keeps OTP on its list of international war sponsors we can’t support decisions requiring new economic and financial sacrifice on the part of the European Union and its member states,” Szijjarto said. “The same goes for sanctions.”
Hungary is widely seen as Russia’s closest partner in the EU, even after Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has dragged his feet on supporting the bloc’s penalties against Russia and refused to join other members by supplying weapons to Ukraine.
He has also urged the EU to consider cutting financing to Kyiv, which critics have said is akin to pushing for capitulation to Moscow’s aggression.