In retrospect, Hungary might not’ve been the ideal choice for Ukraine to get its natural gas from, in that Hungary doesn’t produce significant natural gas of its own.
Hungary’s FGSZ, a pipeline operator that imports gas from Russia, has announced it is suspending gas deliveries to Ukraine indefinitely, following talks between Gazprom and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban.
Orban has been sharply critical of EU sanctions on Russia and is heavily dependent on them for energy. Winter is coming, and Orban says he will not allow his country’s energy supplies to be in jeopardy because of a dispute between Russia and Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine are moving closer to a preliminary agreement, with Ukraine to pay $3.1 billion in existing debts to Gazprom and receive deliver of another 5 billion cubic meters at $385 per 1,000.
Ukraine has a bad history of not paying its debts, but the price is in keeping with an EU-brokered agreement. Such a deal was likely inevitable, and as winter gets closer, the pressure is on the rise to finalize the pact and ensure gas supplies to not just Ukraine, but the EU as well.