15 May 2023 15:42

Hungary won't discuss next package of anti-Russian sanctions as long as OTP Bank is on Ukraine's blacklist

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) - Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said that his country will not discuss the next sanctions package as long as Hungary's OTP Bank is on Ukraine's blacklist, Ukrainian media said, citing Euronews.

"It is shocking. It is outrageous. It is a scandal," Szijjarto said at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Stockholm commenting on the fact that OTP Bank was included in the Ukrainian blacklist.

The operations of this Hungarian bank comply with international expectations and laws, the minister said, adding that the bank's inclusion in the blacklist could also impact EU sanctions against Russia.

"I made it clear at the meeting of foreign ministers that it will be very difficult for us to even start negotiations on the eleventh package of sanctions [against Russia] as long as OTP is on this Ukrainian list. We demand that the Ukrainians remove OTP from the list," he said.

Ukraine's National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption blacklisted Hungary's OTP Bank on May 4, citing, among other reasons, the bank management's willingness to continue to operate in Russia.

According to the agency, OTP is among the 50 largest banks in Russia, where it services more than 2.2 million clients and has offices in 1,850 populated localities.