Budapest [Hungary], May 3 (ANI/Sputnik): Hungary's reluctance to follow the EU path of abandoning Russian energy supplies is driven by the country's energy security concerns, rather than political motives, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Szijjarto embarked on a working trip to Nur-Sultan, where he has already met with Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi.
"We have voted for each sanction package in the European Union, despite that, we are constantly facing unjustified rebukes by the EU. This boils down to the fact that we are explicitly saying that ensuring the energy security of our country requires concrete steps from our side. That is why we refrain from voting for the sanctions that would limit gas and oil supplies from Russia to Hungary. This is not a political decision... This constitutes an apparent issue related to energy security of our state," Szijjarto told journalists following the talks.
At the moment, Russian oil is essential for assuring uninterrupted functioning of the Hungarian economy, the minister added.
"Russia is supplying [to Hungary] 65 per cent of oil through the Druzhba pipeline... We lack any alternative route, which could supply us with the amount of oil needed. We do not care what the East or the West are thinking about us, one issue is critical to us - we want to ensure energy supplies to Hungary... No one can expect us to make the Hungarian people pay the price for the conflict in Ukraine," Szijjarto said.
The EU is now preparing the sixth package of sanctions against Russia for its military operation in Ukraine. The oil embargo is reportedly among the anticipated measures, yet EU member states remain disparate about the ability of the bloc to substitute Russian supplies using alternative sources, considering EU heavy dependence on oil (24 per cent) and gas (39.2 per cent) from Russia.
Meanwhile, Germany, the country previously reluctant to impose energy-related restrictions on Moscow, on Monday, said it was upholding the initiative of gradual abandoning Russian oil, with the deadline set up at end-2022. The sixth sanctions package is expected later this week. Lack of unanimity, however, may prevent it from coming into effect. (ANI/Sputnik)