Hungary: Orbán says he will not accept more energy sanctions against Russia and will pay for gas in rubles if Moscow asks | International

The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, last Sunday after his electoral victory.ATTILA KISBENEDEK (AFP)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has attacked the European Union on Wednesday for high energy prices and has been defiant and opposed to expanding energy sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. For the Hungarian prime minister, Brussels must suspend the payment mechanisms for carbon dioxide emissions, a tool to fight against climate change and global warming. At a press conference in Budapest, the far-rightist has revealed that he has asked the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, for a ceasefire in Ukraine and has offered Hungary as the setting for peace negotiations.

Satisfied after his resounding electoral victory last Sunday, Orbán vindicated his far-right and national-populist ideology on Wednesday, one day after the European Commission announced its intention to activate the so-called conditionality mechanism to sanction Budapest for violating the basic values ​​of the EU. “A party that believes in nation states has emerged stronger from the elections,” he said. “We believe that this idea is going to have a renaissance throughout Europe,” he said. However, the populist leader has also indicated that he continues to see Hungary’s future within the European Union and NATO.

The Hungarian Prime Minister, Putin’s traditional ally within the European Union, explained that Hungary would have no problem paying for Russian gas in rubles, as the Russian leader has demanded and as both the G-7 and the the vast majority of European countries. In any case, he has been against establishing new economic sanctions against Russian gas or oil. Instead, he has advocated eliminating taxes on carbon dioxide emissions. “If the EU cannot control the rise in energy prices, we may need a tax on the wind”, the populist has ironized.

The ultra-nationalist leader has indicated that he has spoken with Putin on Wednesday —in a call made by the Russian leader himself— and has asked for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. In addition, he has offered his country as the venue for direct talks between Putin, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

According to Orbán, Putin has reacted “positively” to the invitation. “The response was positive, but the Russian president has said that he has his conditions. I cannot negotiate to meet those conditions, it must be him and the Ukrainian president who agree on them”, he pointed out.

Last Sunday, Orbán won his fifth election in Hungary – the fourth in a row – and, after that, he launched messages against the European institutions and their founding values. “We have had a great victory. So big that it can be seen from the moon, and of course, from Brussels”, proclaimed the 58-year-old ultra-conservative. In the same message to his followers, he reviewed who he considers his opponents at this time: “We will remember this victory until the end of our lives because we had to fight against a large number of opponents: the local left, the international left, the bureaucrats from Brussels, all the money and institutions of the Soros empire, the main international media and the Ukrainian president as well.”

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