Hungarian foreign ministry summons Ukrainian ambassador over gas contract

The Hungarian foreign ministry has summoned Ukraine's ambassador to protest that country's "attempt to obstruct Hungary's long-term gas supply", which Hungary sees as a violation of its sovereignty, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Tuesday.

Szijjarto said in a Facebook post that Hungary signed a 15-year gas supply agreement with Russian energy giant Gazprom on Monday, pledging to buy 4.5 billion cubic meters of gas each year over the next decade. The deliveries would arrive via Serbia and Austria, the contract said.

In response, the Ukrainian foreign ministry issued a statement saying it would turn to the European Commission and postpone a meeting of the Hungarian-Ukrainian economic committee. Ukraine said the decision, which shuns Ukrainian delivery routes, violated the principles of the Hungarian-Ukrainian basic treaty of 1991.

Szijjarto called it “outrageous” that Ukraine should turn to the EC over the issue. “Ukrainians have nothing to do with our agreements and their content,” he said. Hungary sees it as a “gross violation of our sovereignty and national security that they try to obstruct a safe gas supply to Hungary, and so the heating of Hungarian homes and the operation of its industry,” he said.

The move is especially “unfriendly” after the support Hungary had provided to Ukraine, from deliveries of ventilators and health-care equipment, to the treatment of soldiers, children’s camps and investment support, he said.

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