German and Hungarian EA ministers clash over Ukraine – Politico – RT World News
Baerbock and Szijjarto reportedly fell out after the latter denied allegations that a key Hungarian bank was a ‘war sponsor’
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has clashed with her Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto, over allegations made against a leading Hungarian financial institution, Politico reports.
Budapest last week blocked an EU aid package for Ukraine and new sanctions against Russia, demanding that kyiv remove OTP Bank from its list of “war sponsors.”
According to the report, the row between the two diplomats took place during a closed-door meeting in Brussels on Monday. The outlet, citing unnamed officials present at the event, reported that several member states, including Sweden and Estonia, called on Hungary to stop blocking punitive EU measures against Russia.
In response, Szijjarto reportedly reiterated Budapest’s grievances over Ukraine’s claims that OTP Bank is complicit or supportive of Moscow’s actions.
The German foreign minister joined in, alleging that the Hungarian bank recognized the Lugansk and Donetsk regions as Russian territory and extended credit lines to Russian military personnel, Politico said.
While Hungary and the other member states failed to resolve their differences, the exchange was “civilized and within a normal framework of discussion,one of the sources told the outlet.
Last Wednesday, the head of Hungarian diplomacy made it clear that Budapest would continue to block the allocation of new European funds to Ukraine unless kyiv abandoned its “more and more belligerent“Attitude towards his country.
As a result, a 500 million euro ($544 million) military aid package from the European Peace Facility (EPF) is left in limbo.
Szijjarto also noted that the future of new sanctions against Russia depended on whether Ukraine agreed to change course.
Among other grievances, the Minister raised the issue of OTP Bank, Hungary’s largest lender, which was put on the list of “international war sponsorsby Ukrainian authorities earlier this month.
Szijjarto insisted that the bank “has not violated any law in Ukraine, violated any international law, or violated any sanction measures.”
Announcing the decision, Ukraine’s National Corruption Prevention Agency (NCPA) alleged that the bank was providing “preferential loan conditions [members of] russian army,» including deferred payments on loans.
OTP Bank issued a statement denying the allegations, saying that “always adheres to the norms of Ukrainian and international law in its activities.”