BUDAPEST, November 10. /TASS/. Hungary will not allow the ninth package of EU sanctions against Russia, which is now being discussed in Brussels, to stand in the way of its national interests, Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economic Relations Minister Peter Szijjarto said, speaking on Thursday at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Turkic States (OTH) in Samarkand.
"The Hungarian government will continue to protect its national interests when discussing the ninth sanctions package, which is already being prepared in Brussels, and will not allow Hungarians to suffer unjustly for the war [in Ukraine]," the Hungarian news agency MTI quoted Szijjarto as saying. The minister noted that the EU sanctions imposed on Russia earlier did not contribute to ending the Ukrainian conflict and only worsened the economic situation in Europe. According to him, they "are leading the continent's economy into recession."
Last Sunday, speaking on the air of Radio Kossuth, Szijjarto said that some EU countries had suggested that the ninth sanctions package include a ban on Russian nuclear energy companies. The top diplomat explained that this was unacceptable for Hungary; it was a "red line," because its nuclear power plant in Paks ran on nuclear fuel supplied by Russia. He stressed that Hungary would not support anything that violated its national interests in the energy field.
Earlier, the Hungarian government reiterated that from the very beginning EU leaders had agreed to overlook the nuclear power topic during the preparation of sanctions against Russia. The nuclear power plant in Paks, built using Soviet technologies on the banks of the Danube River, 100 kilometers south of Budapest, has four power units with VVER-440 reactors. The plant provides 49.6% of the country's energy production and over a third of its electricity consumption. This year, Russia continued to deliver nuclear fuel to the plant by air through the airspace of Belarus, Poland and Slovakia, with the blessing of EU leadership. Before Russia's military operation in Ukraine, it was transported by rail to Hungary via Ukrainian territory.
In addition, Hungary, in cooperation with Rosatom, is continuing a project to build the second phase of the Paks nuclear power plant, in which the US company General Electric, the French company Framatome SAS and the German Siemens AG are also involved. As Szijjarto earlier stated, Moscow has confirmed its readiness to finance this project, which is estimated at 12.5 billion euros and which from the beginning was supposed to be 80% financed by a Russian loan. The Hungarian government is counting on the two new VVER-1200 reactors to be installed by 2030, after which the plant's capacity will increase from the current 2,000 megawatts to 4,400 megawatts.