Hungary has reached an agreement with Serbia that could carry more supplies of Russian natural gas through the Balkan country if Ukraine ends a gas transit agreement with Moscow.
Serbia will provide Hungary with more Russian natural gas supplies if Ukraine concludes a gas transit agreement with Russia, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Sunday.
He said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest and assured him that Serbia would be able to supply more Russian gas to Hungary if Kiev refused to extend an agreement allowing transit through the Ukrainian territory.
“We have heard in recent days that Ukraine might cancel the natural gas transit agreement previously concluded with Russia,” Szijjarto said.
“Today, the Serbian president made it clear that Serbia can provide the necessary supply capacity if Hungary wants to increase natural gas supplies to Hungary via Serbia. The agreement came after Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko indicated that Kiev was unlikely to extend the transit agreement that brings Russian natural gas to European countries via Ukraine. That agreement is expected to be finalized next year.”
Hungary gets about 80% of its natural gas from Russia – mainly through the Turk Stream pipeline that runs through Serbia to the south – and has fought hard against proposed European Union sanctions on Russian energy. Even after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Hungary has sought to improve its access to Russian fossil fuels, arguing that they are crucial to its energy security.
During a visit to Moscow in April, Foreign Minister Szijjarto said Russia’s state energy company Gazprom had agreed to allow Hungary to import volumes of natural gas beyond those agreed in a long-term contract signed in 2021, if needed.