Orban labels EU sanctions on Russia 'a step towards war'

Orban labels EU sanctions on Russia 'a step towards war'
Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban arrives for a special meeting of the European council, at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Monday 30 May 2022. Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called the EU sanctions against Russia "dangerous" and a "step towards war."

"Anyone who intervenes economically in a military conflict takes a stand," the right-wing nationalist leader said during a radio interview on Friday. "Little by little, we are sliding towards war."

"Now we are supplying destructive weapons, we are training Ukrainian soldiers on our own territory, we are imposing sanctions on energy... We are becoming an integral part [of the conflict]. We are not being shot at yet, but we are about to become belligerent. Europe is playing a very dangerous game," Orban added.

The Prime Minister said he was ready to "fight" any new EU sanctions and that he will ensure that Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, is "exempted" from them, as is already the case with the EU's oil embargo on Russia.

"Sanctions are ruining us"

During the interview, Orban further claimed to oppose the European Commission's proposal to grant Ukraine €18 billion in aid for 2023 in the form of loans whose interest rates would be covered by the Member States.

"Hungary is not going to accept that EU members take out loans together to help Ukraine," he said.

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Orban has become increasingly concerned by the economic difficulties experienced by his nation in recent months. Hungary's economy contracted in the third quarter of this year, and inflation currently exceeds 20%, with prices for food having risen 45% compared to this time last year.

The Government's opposition to EU sanctions has become so fierce in recent months that it has taken to putting up posters around the country with captions reading.

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