Orbán claims that an oil embargo on Russia would be “an atomic bomb” against the Hungarian economy

Archive – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán – Alexandros Michailidis/European / DPA – File

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Friday that the imposition of an oil embargo on Russia by the European Union (EU) due to the invasion of Ukraine would be “an atomic bomb” against the Hungarian economy.

Orbán, who has been against this embargo, has indicated in an interview with the Hungarian radio station Kossuth that the European Commission’s proposal was presented “without any consultation” and that the body wants “a uniform standard”.

“Oil can only reach Hungary through a pipeline, so a proposal that ignores this circumstance is an atomic bomb against the Hungarian economy,” he argued, before arguing that the European Commission “attacks European unity” and “dismantles the European unity of Versailles”.

Likewise, he has highlighted that it is possible to obtain oil through other means, although he has stated that it would be very expensive and would cause an increase in oil prices. “If the proposal is in the interests of Hungary, we will be happy to discuss it,” he said.

Orbán has also pointed out that this process of modernizing the supply system to move away from dependence on Russian oil would take about five years and has wondered if “this transition makes sense”, given that he considers that by then there will be no more war in Ukraine and the cause of sanctions will have been lost.

On the other hand, he has expressed Hungary’s refusal to impose sanctions on the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kiril. “We do not support the inclusion of church leaders on the sanctions list,” he said, according to the Hungarian newspaper ‘Magyar Hirlap’.

The Hungarian prime minister has also emphasized that the country is not involved in any way in the war between Russia and Ukraine and has argued that Budapest maintains “a position of peace”. “The Russians attacked Ukraine. It is a war between Russia and Ukraine, it is not our war”, he has settled.

Orbán’s words have come after the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, proposed on Wednesday to European governments to impose a total embargo on Russian oil, although he proposed a transitional period until the end of the year to contain the coup in markets and prepare alternative supply routes.

The objective is that the member states, some of which claim exceptions in the application of sanctions due to their strong dependency, such as Slovakia and Hungary, reach an agreement for this Friday. Let’s be clear, it won’t be easy. Some member states are heavily dependent but we just have to work on it,” von der Leyen said.

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