Hungary has broken ranks with the European Union, saying it will accept Moscow’s demand that gas supplies be paid for in rubles.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has opposed any EU sanctions on Russian oil and gas or Western arms shipments through Hungarian territory to Ukraine, told journalists on April 6 that he had agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin that if asked, Hungary would pay for gas shipments using the Russian currency.
In retaliation for Western sanctions imposed because of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Putin has warned Europe that it must pay for gas supplies in rubles or face a possible cut in supplies.
The EU has said it won’t abide by Russia’s demand as it is a breach of contract since payment was agreed upon in euros.
Earlier on April 6, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said gas contracts were between his country and Russia, and that the EU had “no role” to play in the deal.
EU countries rely on Russia for about one-third of the bloc’s total gas supplies. It has yet to apply any sanctions on oil or gas from Russia, though European Council chief Charles Michel said on April 6 that measures on the sector will be needed “sooner or later.”