Radio Free Europe: Hungary threatens to block EU sanctions if three Russian oligarchs are not expelled

Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary. Photo by Alexander Zemlianienko (AP/Scanpix).

Hungary is threatening to block the renewal of sanctions by the European Union (EU) on Russia, if three Russian oligarchs are not removed from the list of sanctioned persons, Radio Free Europe reports.

According to RFE/RF journalist Rikard Jozwiak’s unnamed diplomatic sources, Hungary is demanding the removal of Alier Usmanov, Piotr Aven and Viktor Ranikov from the list of sanctioned persons.

The EU will seek to renew the sanctions regime against Russia for another 6 months, which was introduced after the annexation of Crimea in 214 and was greatly expanded after Russia launched an open invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and for this purpose, the ambassadors of the Community are meeting for a meeting on Tuesday.

The sanctions regime expires on September 15. 1,217 persons and 108 companies are currently included in it.

A. Usmanovs and P. Avens were engaged back in February, and V. Ranikovas in March.

A. Usmanov is considered one of the closest allies of V. Putin, sometimes called the most famous oligarch. Mr. Aven is among the 50 richest Russian businessmen and also maintains close ties with the Kremlin. V. Ranikov owns the Magnitogorsk metallurgical plant.

RFE/RL reports that there is speculation in the corridors of Brussels that this is how Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is trying to negotiate the approval of the EU’s financial aid package for Hungary, which was delayed due to the government’s actions in the country.

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