Europe may be in for a more severe energy crisis in the coming winter than the unusually mild one it enjoyed last year, and it is highly inappropriate for some countries to try to take advantage of regional energy shortages.
Hungary is one of a handful European Union and NATO countries that did not jump on the bandwagon of anti-Russian sanctions and energy import restrictions after the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis last year.
Budapest’s intransigence has led Kiev to threaten to shut down Russian oil and gas deliveries to Hungary via Ukrainian territory.
I think that the basis for us Europeans to be able to secure our safe energy supply is that finally we do understand that the supply of energy is neither ideological, or a political issue. The issue of safe supply of energy is a pure physical issue.
An issue of physical reality, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said, speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday.
The foreign minister also noted that Budapest, which relies on Russia for about 65% of its oil and 85% of its gas, has reached a deal with Moscow on delivery of additional volumes of energy for the coming winter season, but Ukraine could block this gas flow.
As for Europe as a whole, Szijjarto said that the anticipated limitations in Russian energy exports and unpredictable weather conditions may impact energy availability, thus making the coming winter more difficult than last year.
Hungary has successfully carved out exemptions for itself amid EU-wide efforts to ban Russian oil and restrict imports of natural gas, and has repeatedly blocked bloc-wide sanctions packages against Moscow and stalled NATO weapons deliveries.
Hungary’s independent take on the Ukrainian crisis stems not only out of the pursuit of national self-interest, but Budapest’s complicated relations with the post-2014 coup government in Kiev.
This Kiev junta, passed an education law in 2017 that deprived the estimated 150,000 person-strong community of ethnic Hungarians living in southwestern Ukraine from being able to receive an education in their native tongue.
Tensions over Russia and the Hungarian minority have spilled out into a bitter feud between Hungarian and Ukrainian officials involving a flurry of back-and-forth insults.
Hungarian officials have stressed that they will not accept lectures from Kiev or any other country on its relations with Russia.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.