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Request For Increase In Russian Gas Supply Risks Major Row w/EU, NATO


Following a meeting in Moscow between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto, Lavrov stated that Moscow will 'consider' the request from Budapest for more natural gas supply, adding that Russia wants to develop 'strategic' links with Hungary.

  • The request, as well as the meeting between the two ministers, likely to raise significant questions in Brussels and Washington, D.C. The EU has attempted to maintain a united front with regards to Russian actions in using energy supplies as a bargaining chip, but a bilateral deal with Hungary risks a major fissure in this unity.
  • Moreover, Hungary is a NATO member state, and any talk of 'strategic' links being developed between Budapest and Moscow likely to cause concern among the Western alliance.
  • Hungarian PM Viktor Orban's gov't already viewed by critics as the potential weak link in the EU/Western alliance against Russia, and these comments are unlikely to mitigate this view. EU could seek to punish Budapest for this stance, but would be seen as risking pushing Orban gov't closer to Russia.

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