Gazprom deal sparks Hungarian-Ukrainian diplomatic row

Ukraine asked the European Union to review the legality of the deal between Russia and Hungary

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: MTI
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó. (Magyar Hírlap/Tamás Purger)

The 15-year gas supply deal Hungary signed on Monday with Russian energy giant Gazprom has further worsened already strained Ukrainian-Hungarian relations, daily Magyar Hírlap writes.

According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba, Hungary has dealt a blow to Hungarian-Ukrainian relations by signing an agreement with Gazprom to exclude the Ukrainian gas pipeline from the Russian gas transmission system. According to the head of the ministry, Ukraine will give an “appropriate answer” to this. Kuleba spoke about the situation on ICTV Ukrainian television’s Freedom of Speech program Monday night, a statement quoted by Ukrainian news agencies the next morning.

“We have a country here, Hungary, which is a member of the European Union and NATO, as well as having special relations with Russia, which has dealt a blow to Ukrainian-Hungarian relations by excluding the Ukrainian gas pipeline from the Russian gas supply scheme. This is a blow, and we will respond appropriately, because there can be no regret and no compassion here,” Kuleba said.

Due to the fact that the new Hungarian deal with Gazprom specifies two routes for the gas — 3.5 billion cubic meters per year through Serbia and 1 billion cubic meters through Austria — Ukraine will lose millions of euros from gas transit fees.

Ukraine said it will be asking the European Commission to assess whether the agreement is in line with with EU legislation.

“The Ukrainians have no business in what agreements we conclude and with whom,” Szijjártó said in a Facebook post, adding that Ukraine’s ambassador to Budapest has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade over the issue. In response, Ukraine made the same move on its part. The two countries also cancelled a previously agreed upon a meeting of the Hungarian-Ukrainian economic commission.

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