European countries have spent a great deal of time discussing sanctions and restrictive measures against Russia, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary's minister of foreign affairs and trade tells Newsmax, but he stressed that there's only a one-word answer about what is needed: Peace.
"We have to make everything in order to reach peace as soon as possible in our neighborhood," Szijjarto said in an interview with Newsmax's "National Report" Tuesday. "We are a neighboring country and whenever there's a war in your neighboring country, you are under a security risk, so we really want peace, so I think that the whole international community should concentrate on that, how to establish an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine and how to launch substantial and efficient peace talks."
He added that when determining whether to impose sanctions, some factors must be considered.
First, they must be more painful to Russia than they are to Europe. "What we experience is that these sanctions are extremely painful to Europe, because of the prices of commodities and then your resources are skyrocketing," Szijjarto said.
Then, sanctions can also cause uncertainty. "They cause extremely high inflation. They cause a lot of uncertainty and suffering for the European economies and basically, it is the people who pay the price."
Szijjarto is in New York CityTuesday to speak to the United Nations Security Council on the topic of children and armed conflict, and he explained to Newsmax that Hungary is taking several steps to help the thousands of Ukrainian children who have become refugees while fleeing their country.
"The war in Ukraine has been going on for 146 days now, and we, Hungary, are a neighboring country to Ukraine, so we have been experiencing the negative impact of the war from the very beginning," Szijjarto said. "We have already received 840,000 refugees arriving from Ukraine and because of the conscription rules being in power in Ukraine, these are mostly torn apart families, meaning mothers are accompanied by their children and no fathers because they had to stay in Ukraine.
"I have to tell you, it's heartbreaking to see 840,000 refugees like this, and that's why the meeting today chaired by Brazil is so important because it is about how to help the children who are suffering from the armed conflict."
It is the children who are the most "significant losers" from the war, as "they lose their happy time of being a child, and they lose part of their future as well," he continued.
Hungary is taking several steps to help the refugee children:
- Hungary will ensure all Ukrainian children will have free access to education and healthcare.
- Hungary will offer scholarships to Ukrainian students who cannot continue their university studies because the schools are closed.
- The country will help students who were in high school start their university studies in Hungary through state-funded scholarships.
"We know that this does not make their suffering disappear, but definitely, it might help a bit by offering a sense of normalcy," said Szijjarto.
Meanwhile, Hungary's government last week declared an energy emergency in response to supply disruptions and skyrocketing energy prices, and Szijjarto told Newsmax that the situation is "extremely serious" for Europe.
"Many countries are dependent on deliveries from Russia when it comes to gas and oil, and this is a determination," he said. "This is not because we wanted to have this situation. This is not for fun. This is not based on our own willingness. This is a determination of history and of geography as well."
Hungary is dependent on Russian energy sources as well, and so far, the supply is uninterrupted, with 89% of what has been contracted arriving, "which is pretty good, I figure, compared to the western part of Europe," Szijjarto said. "We have to be aware that the western delivery routes and the northern delivery routes in Europe from Russia to the western part of Europe are very uncertain."
The most certain delivery route at this point is the TurkStream, which delivers gas from Russia to Turkey, and from Bulgaria and Serbia towards central Europe and Hungary, he continued.
"We also do want to buy more gas until the first of October, when the heating season will officially start, to be on the safe side," he said. "It's not easy to buy new quantities on top of the already contracted volumes because of the market situation, which is not a real market situation.
"This is a war market situation currently because there's not enough supplied, so the prices are skyrocketing. But the real question is not the price. The real question is whether you have the quantity."
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Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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