Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó arrived in Moscow to meet with Russian officials, including Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, Denis Manturov, Deputy Prime Minister for Industry and Trade, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Upon arrival, the Hungarian Foreign Minister posted on social media:
We have two tasks: to ensure that there will be natural gas for the Hungarian people, and emphasize that we want peace as soon as possible.
He later shared a smiling photo with Minister Lavrov.
The government wants to buy an additional 700 million cubic meters of natural gas, which is necessary because, according to Szijjártó, “we are not living in normal times,” and the storage tanks need to be filled higher than usual. Lavrov said they would look into the request.
Szijjártó also spoke about the war in Ukraine, saying several times that Hungary wants to see a peace agreement. “War is very bad… Let there be peace again so that there will finally be an end to people’s suffering.”
In accordance with the Russian narrative, Lavrov did not talk about war, but of Russia’s “special operation.” When asked by a Russian journalist, he admitted that many people were indeed dying in Ukraine, but that it was coming from Ukrainian weaponry.
Paks II is a High-Priority Strategic Project for the Russians
Lavrov said that the Russians would like to continue their involvement in the construction of new nuclear power units in Paks, which they view as a high-priority strategic project. However, the Russian Foreign Minister also mentioned that “Washington’s Russophobic policy” and the sanctions are highly damaging to cooperation between the two countries.
Szijjártó previously called Lavrov his friend, and also received Russia’s Order of Friendship award from him at the end of last year. The Order of Friendship is the highest level of recognition that the Russian government can bestow on a non-Russian citizen.
Since his country attacked Ukraine in February, Sergey Lavrov has been the most visible member of the Russian government to consistently defend Russia’s role in the Ukrainian war in international venues. [444, 444]