Hungary Won’t Impose New Sanctions & Visa Prohibitions for Russians

Hungary doesn’t support visa restrictions for Russians, despite several European countries imposing such bans for those nationals, in solidarity with Ukrainians suffering in the war zone.

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According to the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary doesn’t even want to discuss energy sanctions, which is about 85 per cent dependent on Russian gas, reports.

These comments followed a meeting with the Estonian homologue, Urmas Reinsalu, during which Hungary reinstated its position and opposed a strengthened package of sanctions that Estonia was initiating. Minister Szijjarto pointed out that it isn’t possible to provide Hungary with oil and natural gas without Russian energy sources.

“And we will not encourage the Hungarian people to pay the price of the war. Energy sanctions will hurt Europe more than Russia, so their strengthening will be contrary to common sense,” MoFA of Hungary said.

He also noted that, as a neighbouring country, Hungary is “particularly interested in establishing peace as soon as possible,” only that the sanctions are different from those proposed by Estonia.

At present, Portugal, Germany, Greece, and Cyprus have all refused to impose visa restrictions on all Russians. EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss such visa restrictions at a meeting scheduled for August 31.

The main reasons for these objections can be related to tourism, as Portugal, Greece and especially Cyprus have been affected by the lack of tourists from Russia, which were one of the main tourism markets.

Moreover, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Joseph Borell, also said he doesn’t support his idea, suggesting the Member States apply a more selective approach to the matter.

“To the oligarchs, we must not open the door, of course.  We have to block the entrance to these Russians. But there are many Russians who want to flee the country because they don’t want to live in this situation,” Borrell stated.

The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has also refused to join the countries imposing an entry ban for Russians, saying the ordinary citizens should not suffer Putin’s actions and that the Member States should instead lay down sanctions that target Putin and those serving his agenda.

So far, countries that support introducing a visa ban to Russian nationals include Estonia, which was the first one to submit such a proposal, Latvia, Denmark, Lithuania, Norway, Finland, Poland and Czechia. The majority of these countries are ready to issue fewer visas to Russian nationals – such as Finland and Denmark, while others like Estonia want to ban them entirely, including those with Schengen visas issued by the other Member States.