(Bloomberg) — Poland’s President Andrzej Duda criticized Hungary for failing to support Ukraine, exposing a growing rift between the two erstwhile allies since the war began more than a month ago.
Speaking after meeting US President Joe Biden in Warsaw on Saturday, Duda said Hungary’s high dependence on Russian energy supplies makes Prime Minister Viktor Orban understandably wary.
“But given Russian aggression against Ukraine, given the deaths of hundreds and thousands of civilians, given the shelling of housing blocks which is a war crime by international law, it’s hard for me to understand this approach,” Duda said in an interview with TVN24 news channel. “This policy will be costly for Hungary, very costly.”
Poland and Hungary have spent years railing against the European Union after being accused by Brussels of democratic backsliding.
Since the war began, Poland has repeatedly urged the EU to ban gas and oil imports from Russia. Orban, meanwhile, has called energy sanctions a “red line” out of concern that it would drive up prices in Hungary. He has also rejected the supply of military aid to Ukraine — and even barred its transit through Hungary — saying it may drag the country into the war. Orban’s facing a general election on April 3.
On top of importing Russian oil and gas, Hungary is expanding its sole nuclear power plant in a 12.5 billion-euro ($13.7 billion) project being carried out by Russia’s Rosatom Corp.
Duda said Poland should stop importing Russian oil and gas as soon as possible. The government will next week present a plan to cut the imports “almost instantly,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday.
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