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Hungary stalls new EU funds for Ukraine arms

Hungary new president Tamas Sulyok
Source: Pixabay

Hungary is blocking the release of another 500 million euros from EU funds to pay for weapons for Ukraine over Kyiv’s blacklisting of one of its banks, Budapest said Wednesday.

Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said Budapest would hold up the disbursement until Ukraine removes Hungarian bank OTP from a blacklist of firms working in Russia.

He said Budapest, which has the closest ties in the EU to Russia, could also block a new round of sanctions over the war due to the issue and plans to impose export restrictions on eight Chinese firms.

EU countries have already unlocked some 5.6 billion euros in common funding to help arm Ukraine in its fight against Russia since Moscow invaded last February.
The bloc’s member states recently signed off on using two billion euros for a plan aimed at getting one million artillery shells to Ukraine over the next year.
That means the bulk of the nearly eight billion euros currently allocated to the joint European Peace Facility (EPF) has already gone towards Ukraine.

Earlier, Budapest claimed it was opposing the new tranche of money as the funds were meant to support partners around the world, not just Ukraine.

Several European diplomats confirmed Wednesday that Hungary was stalling the new chunk of funds set aside to reimburse EU countries for the cost of weapons sent to Ukraine.

Diplomats were still seeking to get an agreement for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, they said.

The debate over the funding comes as Ukraine is desperately pleading for weaponry for its forces as they gear up for a counter-offensive.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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