Russian-Ukrainian war: UK unveils tough new sanctions as US imposes sanctions on Putin’s daughters – live | world news
The Guardian’s Brussels correspondent, Jennifer Rankin, has a report from Viktor Orbán’s press conference:
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said his country would have “no difficulty” paying for Russian gas in rubles and would do so if asked by Moscow.
The statement undermines EU unity on Russia, after Germany and Italy, other major European consumers of Russian gas, refused Vladimir Putin’s request to pay for gas shipments in roubles. Germany found a workaround that would allow it to pay for the gas in euros, which would then be converted into rubles by Russian bank Gazprombank.
Orbán was speaking at a press conference, days after a resounding victory in an election that independent observers said was characterized by media bias, vagueness between party and state and funding opaque campaign.
Orbán also said he had invited Putin to peace talks in Hungary that would be attended by Ukrainian, French and German leaders.
The Russian president was one of the first leaders to congratulate Orbán on his victory, which was also hailed by far-right leaders Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini and former US President Donald Trump.
The Hungarian government did not mention Putin in a list of leaders who would have praised Orbán published on an international website on Wednesday.
Budapest has supported EU sanctions and condemned Russia’s war, but Hungary’s refusal to help Ukraine with weapons, as well as the virulent anti-Ukrainian rhetoric in state-controlled media, angered the allies.
On Wednesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced he was summoning the Ukrainian ambassador, a move that usually indicates diplomatic disguise.
“It’s time for Ukrainian leaders to stop insulting Hungary and take note of the will of the Hungarian people,” said Szijjártó, who received a friendship medal from Vladimir Putin.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused Orbán of siding with the Kremlin and ignoring the humanitarian disaster suffered by residents of Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities.