Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says new penalties will just accelerate inflation
Hungary will veto any EU sanctions that may affect Russia's nuclear energy, the country's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday in an interview with state radio.
Kiev has repeatedly called on the 27-nation bloc to include the Russian nuclear industry on its list of sanctions, with some member states supporting the idea.
Hungarian authorities had previously said that cooperation with Russia on nuclear energy is essential for Budapest, which is planning to expand a Russian-built nuclear power plant.
"We will not allow the [EU's] plan to include nuclear energy in the sanctions to be implemented," the premier said, stressing that penalties against nuclear energy "must obviously be vetoed."
The new punitive measures are "out of the question," Orban said, adding that they would just accelerate inflation in his landlocked state.
The Paks nuclear power plant, which is the only of its kind in the Hungary, was commissioned in the early 1980s and uses Soviet nuclear technology. Hungary wants to more than double its capacity, with two new reactors built by Russian state-run nuclear firm Rosatom. Generating nearly half the country's power, the plant also gets its nuclear fuel from Russia.
Budapest's uncompromising position on the issue had previously been voiced by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
The sanctions targets that the European Commission is expected to include in its tenth package of anti-Russia sanctions have yet to be shared with EU member states.
The Hungarian government has repeatedly criticized the EU's Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia, noting the penalties have failed to weaken the country in a meaningful way but risk destroying the European economy.
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