Despite strict European Union sanctions, Hungary has requested Russia to supply nearly one billion cubic meters of natural gas. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would “immediately go ahead and study Budapest’s demands”. Notably, the announcement comes on the same day that Moscow resumes gas flows to Europe through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
EU member Hungary has maintained pragmatic relations with Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, creating tensions with some EU allies keen to take a tougher stance. On Thursday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto landed in Moscow to cement his country’s energy supply. “Looking at the current market situation, like it or not… without Russian sources, it would not be possible to buy an additional 700 million cubic meters of gas,” Szijjarto said, talking about the additional supply.
He added, “In the current international situation, ensuring Hungary’s energy security is the most important thing for us. Therefore, I want to speak today and agree on increasing the amount of gas already supplied to Hungary from Russia.”
💬 FM Sergey #profit The following discussion with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto:
🇷🇺🇭🇺 I appreciate our relationship. Today’s talks confirmed their long-term and strategic nature.
☝️ We will work to expand them in every possible way.
🔗 https://t.co/p7iONORBOY pic.twitter.com/sUCtPCcUMT
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) July 21, 2022
‘Ukraine war will be discussed’, Szijjarto said
Currently, Hungary receives 3.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas per year through Bulgaria and Serbia, and another 1 bcm through a pipeline from Austria. Meanwhile, Szijjarto, who also held talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister-Energy Complex Alexander Novak, said he would use the opportunity to discuss the Ukraine war “from the perspective of the interests of Hungary’s national minorities.” as well as “our view of how our special military operations are developing.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Nord Stream 1—a major pipeline carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe—began operating. However, gas supply on Thursday was around 30% of pipeline capacity. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian energy giant Gazprom was committed to fulfilling its obligations to supply gas to other countries. He denied statements made by Western officials about Russia’s efforts to pressure Europe in the energy sector, calling the accusations “false statements.”