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Hungarian Foreign Minister Threatens to Block EU Aid for Ukraine

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto stated on April 22 that Ukraine is conducting what he termed a “witch hunt” against Hungarian businesses operating within its borders, and he threatened to block further EU aid unless such policies are altered.

Previously, Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention labeled Hungary’s OTP Bank as an “international sponsor of war”. In response, Hungary threatened to impede aid to Ukraine, leading to the provisional removal of OTP bank from the list.

Szijjarto reiterated Hungary’s stance, emphasizing that until Ukraine provides guarantees to halt what Hungary perceives as a targeted campaign against Hungarian companies in Ukraine, Hungary cannot support further aid decisions.

Hungary has obstructed 500 million euros ($532 million) in assistance to Ukraine from the European Peace Facility. Szijjarto also declared Hungary’s intent to impede a 1.5 billion euro ($1.6 billion) tranche of EU aid from the four-year Ukraine Facility, which had been endorsed by all 27 EU leaders, including Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in February.

It remains uncertain how Hungary would undertake efforts to obstruct the tranche from the Ukraine Facility, given that the aid had already been approved over a four-year period, and Orban’s request for annual reviews was rebuffed.

Previously, Hungary stated that it was withholding the 500 million euros due to what it alleges are unresolved issues concerning Ukraine’s Hungarian minority. In response, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated in April that Ukraine was collaborating with Hungary to resolve these issues and unlock the aid.

Kuleba and Szijjarto met in January in Uzhhorod, Zakarpattia region, where they announced an agreement to establish a special commission to address issues concerning national minorities.

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