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Russia’s counter-sanctions painful for EU — Hungary FM

October 21, 2015, 19:07 UTC+3
Hungary agrees with the viewpoint of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the necessity of cooperation between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergeн Lavrov (L) welcomes Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto

Russian Foreign Minister Sergeн Lavrov (L) welcomes Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto

© EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV

MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. Russia’s counter-sanctions against the European Union countries are painful, Hungary hopes that differences between the sides will be overcome as soon as possible, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Wednesday.

"As we are part of the European Union, we must share the common views," Szijjarto said in an interview with the Russian television channel Lifenews.

"Implementation of the Minsk Agreements on Donbas in full may become a prerequisite for the lifting of sanctions. We hope this will happen soon, as Russia’s counter-sanctions are very painful for Europe," he said.

Szijjarto underscored that Hungary agrees with the viewpoint of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the necessity of cooperation between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

The new integration association - the EAEU - started operating on January 1, 2015. Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia make part of the EAEU. The Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh presidents held the final meeting in late December 2014 in the process to establish the EAEU.

"We hope the situation in Ukraine will stabilize and the Minsk Agreements will be implemented. Then we will be able to build relations between the European Union and Russia anew. Moscow has always been an important partner for us. But now Russia is not our ally," Szijjarto said.

"This causes economic difficulties. We hope that we will be able to overcome differences as soon as possible," he said.

Sanctions

For incorporation of Crimea after last year’s coup in Ukraine, Russia came under sanctions on the part of the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon intensified following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia supported militias in self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in destabilization of Ukraine.

As countermeasures, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as claims that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in Ukraine’s east.

Events in Ukraine

After a coup occurred in Ukraine in February 2014, mass protests soon erupted in Ukraine’s southeast, where local residents, mostly Russian speakers, did not recognize the coup-imposed authorities, formed militias and started fighting for their rights.

In response, Kiev in April 2014 announced the start of "an antiterrorism operation" in east Ukraine.

Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in the area.

Kiev has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk Agreements.

The Package (Minsk-2) was signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk by participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbass.

The Package, earlier agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine) envisioned an overwhelming cessation of fire and withdrawal of heavy armaments to create a security area in the region at least 50 kilometers wide.

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