The past week or so have seen some remarkable and truly dangerous escalations and potential expansions in the war so far limited to Russia and its annexation of the Donbas region of Ukraine.
The situation is fluid and ongoing and cannot be fully understood at this time. But a timeline can be described in terms of the salient events.
First, as RAIR reported on May 15th, the newly elected conservative Prime Minister of Hungary, who just enjoyed his fifth consecutive electoral victory by a large margin, made a public statement about refusing to accept all of the various European Union demands in terms of embargoes and other measures intended to punish Russia, as he felt those measures represent an existential threat to Hungary and the Hungarian economy. he did however, offer to take in as many Ukrainian refugees as needed and has taken more than many other European nations combined as a portion of their population.
In the following video, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán talks about where he draws the line on sanctions against Russia. He makes it clear that an energy embargo is off-limits because of the damage it would do to the Hungarian economy.
Then, on Tuesday May 24th at Midnight, PM Orban put Hungary on a war footing, effectively declaring martial law. He did specify though, that this was in response to what he felt was an economic threat. Potentially from the EU itself:
As of May 27th, several new developments. Here are two reports on a Ukrainian threat to cut off an oil pipeline to Hungary originating in Russia. One from Ukrainian news and first, one from Russian news site, Sputnik.
Ukraine Warns ‘Something Should Happen’ to Pipeline Delivering Russian Oil to Hungary
Budapest has spent weeks shooting down proposals by Brussels to ban Russian oil and gas in the European Union, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban warning that an embargo on Russian oil would be tantamount to “dropping an atomic bomb” on the Hungarian economy. Hungary purchases about 65 percent of its oil and 85 percent of its gas from Russia.
Kiev should make “something happen” to the Druzhba (“Friendship”) pipeline carrying Russian oil through Ukraine to Hungary to teach Budapest a lesson, Lana Zerkal, an adviser to Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Haluschenko, has suggested.
Hungary has taken advantage of Russia’s war against Ukraine, actually blackmailing the European Union, but Ukraine has something to respond with.
The relevant statement was made by Advisor to Ukrainian Energy Minister Olena Zerkal during the Kyiv Security Forum, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
According to Zerkal, Hungary’s appetites for EU funds are growing every day.
“They decided that their finest hour had come, when they could demand anything, so as not to destroy the European unity,” Zerkal said.
She expressed regret that Hungary had been allowed to do so.
“In fact, the European Commission had to change its policy and allow for investments, the use of European funds even to build a new oil pipeline, not to mention the re-equipment of oil refineries,” Zerkal noted.
In her words, they are also receiving all funds frozen under other programs.
The two news sites report the same issue but with distinctly different timbres.
Hungary has now issued a new policy. Hungary, they assert, will not vote in favour of the Brussels Oil Embargo proposal, to boycott Russian oil for the entirety of the European Union.
Should Ukraine make good on its threat to block energy to Hungary, it would represent the most serious threat to the EU since BREXIT, as Hungary would face a decision to either shoot itself in the left foot by joining a boycott that would cripple and nearly kill its economy, or shoot itself in the right by finding itself in a potential kinetic war with Ukraine alongside Russia. Of course there is always a third and usually fourth option. But these two are the most obvious.
Hungary has “indefinitely” cut off its supply of natural gas to Ukraine, a move that Kiev’s state gas firm has described as “unexpected and unexplained.”
Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency cites Hungary’s gas operator, FGSZ Ltd., saying that the pipeline cutoff “was made to meet the growing domestic demand.”
However, The Financial Times notes that the gas was shut off “days after the head of Russia’s Gazprom monopoly visited Budapest.” FGSZ’s move comes three days after Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest.
It is noteworthy that nowhere in the NPR article do they mention the threat by Ukraine to cut off the energy pipeline from Russia to Hungary, which is linked above, both from Ukrainian and Russian news.
Ukrainian president, Zelenskyy questions why any European nation should have the autonomy to make descisions in their own interests. Presumably meaning not in his.
Euronews: Orbán blasts allegations he’s ‘Putin’s puppet’