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.
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.