Hungary threatens to retaliate over Ukraine's sanctioning of OTP
Hungary will not contribute to any further EU funding of arms transfers to Ukraine until Kiev takes OTP Bank off of the "scandalous" list.
Hungarian Foreign Minister and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto stated that Budapest will block EU money for military supplies to Ukraine until Kiev removes OTP Bank from the blacklist.
Because of the bank's huge presence in Russia, Ukraine's National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP) placed Hungary's largest commercial lender, OTP, on its list of "international sponsors of war" in May.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Szijjarto said that Hungary will not contribute to any further EU funding of arms transfers to Ukraine until Kiev takes OTP off of the "scandalous" list.
The minister said that "Our position is clear: until OTP [bank] is removed from this list, Hungary will not greenlight any additional EU funding for weapon shipments to Ukraine," warning that the decision will cover not just the €500 million ($546 million) tranche of arms Budapest vetoed earlier, but any further military assistance as well.
"It will be better if they [the EU] do not come up with any proposals to finance further arms deliveries," Szijjarto asserted.
Kiev's sanctioning of Hungary's biggest commercial bank was described by Hungary as "outrageous, unacceptable, and scandalous."
"We really sometimes have a feeling that they [the Ukrainians] are making fun of us," he said, “We do sometimes get the feeling that we are being played, but we do not say it more often because there is a war going on in the neighborhood, and in such situations, you have to be careful about the expressions you use.”
The minister added that Budapest was "doing everything to help the Ukrainian people," and Hungarians "are paying the price of a war they have nothing to do with." Furthermore, Budapest has frequently called for a cease-fire and peace agreement in Ukraine, as well as chastised the EU for delivering armaments to Kiev. Hungary has also stated that anti-Russia sanctions harm Europe more than Russia.
Last month, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told German tabloid Bild that a Ukrainian triumph on the battlefield would be "impossible" for Kiev and its supporters.