State Secretary Zoltán Kovács said sanctions against Russia are having no effect on the war in Ukraine but are harming the countries which have imposed them, as shown in growing energy prices. “This war should not have started in the first place, and should be ended as soon as possible. The way there is through a ceasefire and peace talks,” Zoltán Kovács told Austrian daily Kurier. Currently, “we aren’t gaining anything, we are just losing.” Sanctions are harming the economy, and energy security must be a priority, he said.
Put to him that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had visited Moscow regularly, seeking cheaper oil and gas deals, and that Hungary depends on Russia for the upgrade of its nuclear plant, Kovács said: “The close political ties you attribute to the prime minister and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin do not exist. The relations are not closer than those between Russia and Germany.” Dependency on Russian oil, gas and nuclear technology has historical rather than political roots, he said. Russia is the “cheapest and most attractive energy source on the market,” Kovács said. The war will end but Russia will remain a potential energy source, “with or without Putin, his ideological dreams notwithstanding,” he said. “Deciding to fully wean our energy policy from Russia now is not necessarily a good idea,” he said.
Regarding the European Union’s criticism over the state of the rule of law in Hungary, Kovács said Hungary had complied with all of the EU’s conditions, but this had not been reciprocated. “This is a witch hunt,” he said. Referring to EU funding for the next financial cycle and post pandemic recovery, Kovács said: “The money is ours — not a present, not subsidies; it’s ours. It is being distributed for economic reasons. Withholding it is a subjective political decision.”
Photo credit: Facebook/Kovács Zoltán