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Hungary expects to preserve gas supply contracts with Russia — top diplomat

Russian imports make up over 80% of gas consumed in the country

VIENNA, March 6. /TASS/. Russian gas deliveries are of major importance for Hungary, and Budapest would like to preserve cooperation with Moscow in this area, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in an interview with Veszpremi Naploban.

"Gas delivery contracts with Russians have always been honored by both sides," the minister said. "We hope this would continue. If not, a huge problem will emrge."

"Imports from Russia account for over 40% of natural gas supplies to Europe. In Hungary’s case, Russian imports make up over 80% of gas consumed in the country," he said. "If the opposition’s proposal to halt imports of [Russian] gas are put into practice, Hungary would have no heating, no industry, to jobs - and companies would go bust."

"Continuation of gas supplies is in our interests," Szijjarto said. "It is fully in line with European rules, because Gazprom is not on the list of sanctions in any form, and Gazprombank is not on the list of banks to be disconnected from SWIFT."

Hungary entered into two long-term contracts with Gazprom last September, which stipulate annual supplies of 4.5 bln cubic meters of gas in total, via pipelines through Serbia and Austria bypassing Ukraine. The agreement meant for 15 years may be reconsidered within 10 years after the start of its implementation. However, as it is today, the agreement will not cover Hungary’s demand for Russian gas completely, and the country will have to purchase the remaining volume from Gazprom via its trader on the short-term basis. That is why Budapest would like to increase gas supplies via Serbia by 1 bln cubic meters per year, which was agreed by Orban during his visit to Moscow in early February.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to the appeal of the leaders of the republics of Donbass, decided to conduct a special military operation. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow’s plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. After that, the US, EU, and UK, as well as several other states, announced that they were imposing sanctions against Russian individuals and legal entities.