Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has scheduled an official visit to Moscow for 1 February, where he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Radio Free Europe in Macedonian reports. The reason for the visit to Russia is the request of Hungary for additional quantities of natural gas.
In an interview with Hungarian media today, Orban said that at the summit between Hungary and Russia he would ask for an increase in natural gas supplies, although the two countries already signed a 15-year agreement in September last year with exact quantities of gas that Hungary will receive.
Immediately after the signing of last year’s agreement, Ukraine reacted strongly to such a move by Budapest and Moscow, because the delivery will be made through alternative routes through Austria and Serbia and the existing gas pipeline passing through Ukraine will not be used. Official Kiev then asked the European Commission to determine whether such an agreement between Hungary and Russia complies with EU energy regulations, Euronews reports.
Meanwhile, Orban, in today’s interview said that Hungary was a sovereign country and that the government was “prioritizing national interests in international relations”.
Immediately after announcing his visit to Moscow, the united Hungarian opposition issued a joint statement urging Viktor Orban to cancel his trip to Russia and meet with Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine conflict.
“Victor Orban’s visit – the fact that he is not cancelling his trip despite the situation, sends a message that NATO and EU member states are not united in rejecting Putin’s proposals,” reads a letter from the Hungarian opposition published by Hungary Today.
The opposition claims that Orban’s visit will encourage the Russian president to escalate tensions in Ukraine. Ukraine is a country bordering Hungary to the west, along with Poland, Slovakia and Moldova. Viktor Orban is expected to run in Hungary’s parliamentary elections on 3 April, with opinion polls in recent months showing conflicting results over which political bloc would win and form the next Hungarian government.