April 19. 2024. 8:46

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Hungarian FM slams Russia sanctions, vows to shield Bosnia’s Dodik

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó criticised the EU’s Russia sanctions as “harmful” on Wednesday, and vowed to protect the Bosnian Serb secessionist leader Milorad Dodik against any sanctions “as long as we are in power in Hungary”.

Speaking at an energy panel in Trebinje, southeastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, Szijjártó also said Hungary “does not intend to stop purchasing gas from Russia” and was in contact with Russia’s Gazprom, who he said was respecting its contractual obligations.

“When the first sanctions package was introduced, those who introduced them said Russia will be economically ruined by the sanctions and will not be able to continue waging war, which will lead us to peace,” Szijjártó said, as reported by Vijesti.ba.

“Now we have reached the tenth package and Russia is not on its knees,” he added.

“The sanctions are creating problems for European countries. High inflation is the consequence of the sanctions, and this is a bigger problem for us in Europe than for Russians. If we look at the facts, the sanctions make no sense and are even harmful,” he also said.

Speaking about his host, Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, one of the two highly autonomous Bosnian entities, Szijjártó said Dodik had won the elections and this must be respected.

“Those who want sanctions imposed against Dodik essentially do not want to respect the will of the Republika Srpska citizens,” he said.

Dodik, who has repeatedly threatened to oversee RS’s secession and called for a “peaceful break-up” of BiH, is already under Washington’s sanctions for undermining peace and democracy in BiH.

Szijjártó made it clear the EU would not be able to do the same, though the bloc has so far made no attempt to punish the Bosnian Serb leader.

“As long as we are in power in Hungary, President Dodik will not be on any sanctions list,” he said.

(Zoran Radosavljević | EURACTIV.com)