Even amongst Western allies of Ukraine, Keatinge suggests sanctions lack “consistency”, with some countries buying petroleum products more actively than others, plus a few Russian banks can still use the SWIFT payment system.

“It doesn't make a mockery of the sanctions, but it certainly makes it far more difficult to have any certainty the restrictions are being properly imposed,” he tells Euronews.

Led by ultra-nationalist Viktor Orban, Hungary has gained notoriety for continuing to purchase Russian energy, while some worry sanctions fatigue is gripping Austria, with one political party saying last October restrictions should be put to a referendum.

“Sanctions are a political tool,” Keatinge says. “If the leadership in your country is not putting out strong messaging on sanctions, then why would industry feel the need to comply.


Was anything done against Hungary to make it stop importing Russian oil? The article claims that Hungary hasn't stopped importing Russian oil despite sanctions, did any Western country do anything to make Hungary stop and abide by Western-led sanctions imposed against Russia?

  • Hungary and the EU have been in a long-documented tussle about support to Ukraine. The fact that Hungary still imports Russian oil is a compromise, and possibly a lack of easy alternatives, within that larger struggle. So, yes, Hungary has been pressured to drop Russian oil imports in the past. But Hungary has its own ways to push back, on veto-able, EU initiatives. Just because they still import it doesn't mean the EU did not try to get them to stop, as can be trivially found by any news searches. Commented Jan 30 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


May 31, 2022 Hungary's Orban wins exemption in EU Russian oil embargo | AP News

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s divisive leader has once again got his own way with the European Union — this time in tough negotiations on Russian oil at a summit in Brussels.

EU leaders concluded four weeks of negotiations on Monday to impose a partial embargo on Russian oil imports.

So, basically Hungary kept its Russian oil but everyone else got rid of theirs. The subtext - the EU did very much try to get rid of Hungary's oil.

more on that

The impasse embarrassed the bloc, which was forced to scale down its ambitions to break Hungary’s resistance. When European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed the package, the initial aim was to phase out imports of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.

Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban had made clear he could support the new sanctions only if his country’s oil supply security was guaranteed. Hungary gets more than 60% of its oil from Russia and depends on crude that comes through the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline.

  • I am not a fan of Orban, but Hungary's overdependence on Russian oil was a legitimate concern to not fully support the sanctions. Another thing is, he hasn't done anything to solve this dependence.
    – Rekesoft
    Commented Jan 31 at 7:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .