Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary refuses to discuss weapons deliveries until Ukraine removes OTP Bank from its list of international sponsors of war.
“It’s an enormous contradiction that while Hungary is expected to pay tens of billions from Hungarian taxpayers’ money for weapon deliveries to Ukraine, the same country is branding a bank handling the accounts of 3 million Hungarians an international sponsor of the war,” the minister said after an informal meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Spain. Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, proposed a meeting between himself, Minister Szijjártó and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, but the latter rejected the offer, Szijjártó said. According to Borrell, OTP Bank has not violated EU regulations or sanctions, he added.
Regarding the situation of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, Szijjártó insisted that the “Ukrainisation” of some 15,000 students was about to start from Sept. 1. Meanwhile, Hungary is schooling some 5,000 Ukrainian refugee children, he said. He said the new regulations coming into force in Ukraine were a “grave violation of international law”, adding that Hungary would see that as a priority when the assessment of the country’s application for EU membership starts this autumn. Hungary will also stand fast regarding proposals on sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry, he said. “Not only because it’s against national interests but also because sanctions against the nuclear sector are an excellent example of sanctions ruining the competitiveness of Europe’s economy and of how they take us for fools,” he said. The US more than doubled Uranium imports from Russia in the first half of 2023, he said. Speaking about the situation in West Africa, Szijjártó said that unless the region managed to achieve stability, calm and peace, it could be a source of new migration waves to Europe which the bloc could not handle. “Rather than helping [the countries] defending its external borders … Brussels continues to inspire migration,” he said.