Hungary requested the removal of nine Russian businessmen from EU sanctions list – Szijjártó to Ria Novosti

February 24. 2023. – 09:21 PM

Hungary requested the removal of nine Russian businessmen from EU sanctions list – Szijjártó to Ria Novosti
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a meeting in Moscow on 21 July 2022 – Photo: Handout / Russian Foreign Ministry / AFP


Copied to clipboard

Hungary would like to have nine Russian businessmen removed from the sanctions list, Péter Szijjártó told the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti. According to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, several Central Asian countries, including the Turkic states, have indicated to Budapest that these nine businessmen would make important investments in their countries and that they do not understand why they cannot work with these businessmen. The people involved are not government representatives but are from business circles.

"This is why we thought that if there was no legal basis for having these individuals on the list, it would be good to get them off the sanctions list."

- Szijjártó said.

He said "we suffered under the communist regime and we know what it is like when children are punished for what their parents did or did not do. We do not think that those times should return". He said that he does not understand, for example, why a former Formula 1 driver was put on the list just because his father is suspected of being linked to the Russian government. Although he doesn't mention him by name, he is most likely referring to former Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, whose father is a member of Vladimir Putin's inner circle. According to Szijjártó, there needs to be a strong legal basis for sanctions, so if someone does not meet this requirement, it is simply not enough for the Hungarian government.

He said that during the negotiation of the tenth sanctions package, they tried to have some names taken off the list, but failed. Telex also reported recently that the Hungarian government was fighting for removing the Russian oligarchs on the sanctions list. The negotiation of the package was still underway on Friday.

Ria Novostyi writes that there are 1,386 Russian individuals and 171 Russian entities on the list, but the Russian government has repeatedly said that it can cope with Western pressure. What is certain is that neither Russia nor Europe is crippled by the war, but the situation in developing countries is not good. The real loser, however, is clearly the Russian-invaded Ukraine, where even according to the most conservative estimate thousands of civilians have died, many of them in brutal mass killings, a quarter of the population, some 13 million people, have been forced to leave their homes, 8 million of them left their country too, because of the fighting, and the country's GDP has fallen by 30%.

The Hungarian State News Agency, MTI reports that Péter Szijjártó also spoke in New York on Friday where he said that the sanctions policy was not well received by the vast majority of non-European countries. He explained that these countries do not understand why Europe would want to turn a regional war into a global one.

The foreign minister reiterated the Hungarian government's position that a ceasefire is needed and that the parties should sit down to negotiate – although, according to MTI, he did not name the Ukrainians as an important negotiating partner alongside the Russians, but the Americans and NATO – even though Russia is currently attacking Ukraine.

For more quick, accurate and impartial news from and about Hungary, subscribe to the Telex English newsletter!