Hungary warns against more Russia sanctions, says EU stands to lose war
A senior Hungarian official says the European Union stands to lose its sanction war on Russia, warning the bloc against imposing any more of the coercive economic measures against Moscow.
"At the end of the day, Europe will be on the losing side of this war because of the economic problems. Our recommendation would be that we should stop the sanction process," Balazs Orban, a top aide to Hungarian President Victor Orban, said on the sidelines of an EU meeting in Brussels on Thursday, Reuters reported.
The EU has slapped six packages of sanctions against the Russian Federation since February, when Moscow started a special military operation in neighboring Ukraine.
The bans include asset freezes and visa bans on Russian oligarchs and officials, export controls, freezing central bank assets, disconnecting banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system and a ban on imports of Russian coal and oil.
Europe, however, is yet to completely freeze its oil and gas imports from Russia since some European countries such as Hungary are heavily dependent on Russian fuel and have won themselves exemptions from the sanction spree.
"We reached a point when we realize that we followed the strategy for four months, we have some achievements, but if it continues like this, according to reasonable thinking, it will end up in a bad way for Europe. So we have to think about something. Negotiations, ceasefire, peace. Diplomacy. That's our solution," Orban said.
Although the sanctions afflict their fair share of damage to Russia, Moscow would eventually “survive” the bans, the Hungarian aide asserted.
Echoing his remarks, some European officials say even if the bloc totally stops importing Russian oil and gas, Moscow would still be able to mitigate the effect of the bans by rather shipping its fuel cargoes to China and India.