Espreso. Global

Hungary once again blocks €500 million in EU military aid to Ukraine

23 October, 2023 Monday
21:51

On 23 October, Hungary once again blocked the transfer of EUR 500 million of military aid from the EU to Ukraine

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This was stated by EU High Representative Josep Borrell in Luxembourg during a press conference following the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Ukrinform reports. 

"At this time, Ukraine has disappeared from the news, but the war in Ukraine has not disappeared, it is still ongoing. Russia continues to bomb civilian targets, with at least 18 people killed in the past few days. Ukrainian infrastructure is still being destroyed. We had a discussion on how to address Ukraine's most urgent needs, its defence needs. We still haven't been able to solve the problem with the eighth tranche from the European Peace Fund, we are still looking for a solution. But one way or another, we will find a solution to this," Borrell said.

He said that the ministers considered Ukraine's security in the medium and long term. This includes military support, as well as other measures that will contribute not only to the country's security, but also to economic and industrial stability.

"We are awaiting policy decisions from the European Council, which will meet this week, to continue working on proposals for a Ukraine Fund as part of the EU's multi-annual budget, but we need political guidance to enable us to do so. As for the (Ukrainian - ed.) Peace Formula, another meeting on this will be held very soon in Malta, with an attempt to attract the widest possible support from UN member states," he added.

Earlier, this was reported by Radio Liberty correspondent Rikard Jozwiak.

It is noted that Ukraine has already removed OTP Bank from the list of international sponsors of the war, but Hungary demands legal guarantees that this is permanent. 

"As expected no agreement on the 8th tranche (500 million) of EU military aid for Ukraine when EU foreign ministers met today. The Hungarian bank OTP has been delisted from the "doing business in Russian blacklist” but Budapest wants legal assurances that this is permanent," the statement says. 

Jozwiak also noted that during today's meeting of EU foreign ministers, a handshake took place between representatives of Russia and Hungary.  

"Questions to Hungary about what instructions came from Moscow. Budapest reacted saying “it doesn’t take instructions from anyone”" the journalist writes.

OTP Bank's activities in Russia

On 4 May, the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption in Ukraine added the Hungarian OTP Bank to the list of international sponsors of the war because of its activities in Russia and de facto recognition of the LDNR.

On 12 May, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó said that due to Ukraine's inclusion of the Hungarian OTP Bank in the list of war sponsors, it would be difficult for Budapest to agree with the European Union on new sanctions against Russia.

Later, it became known that Ukraine and Hungary were in talks after the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption of Ukraine added the Hungarian OTP Bank to the list of international war sponsors.

On 29 September, the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption suspended the status of the Hungarian OTP Bank and 5 Greek shipping companies from the list of international sponsors of war, a decision that was made following negotiations.

In response, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry said that Ukraine's temporary exclusion of the Hungarian OTP Bank from the list of international war sponsors in an attempt to unblock EU military aid does not significantly change the situation.

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