Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller says his company will send more gas to Hungary this winter, despite EU attempts to reduce reliance on Russian energy.
The comments were made on Russian state television on Sunday, just days after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing.
Miller didn’t specify exactly how much more energy Hungary would receive from Gazprom, but stated: "We will supply additional volumes on an ongoing basis in the autumn-winter period of the coming winter."
Miller added that this year’s additional gas supplies to Hungary amounted to 1.3 billion cubic metres.
Since President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Hungary is the only EU member state to have maintained close ties with Russia.
The European Union hasn’t imposed sanctions on Russian gas imports via pipeline, but the bloc has drastically reduced its consumption of Russian gas, along with imposing sanctions on oil imports.
Western leaders have accused Prime Minister Orbán of funding President Putin’s war because of Hungary’s continued reliance on Gazprom’s energy.
According to Russian state-run media TASS, Orbán told Putin last week that “Hungary has never sought to confront Russia. Rather, the opposite is true: Hungary has always pursued the goal of building and expanding the best communication”.
These assurances took place at an international forum celebrating China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an event at which Alexey Miller was also present.
The US ambassador to Hungary criticised Orbán’s decision to meet Putin, calling the meeting "troubling".
“Hungary's leader chooses to stand with a man whose forces are responsible for crimes against humanity in Ukraine, and alone among our Allies," said Ambassador David Pressman.
In his interview on Sunday, Gazprom’s CEO also claimed that his company would be sending more gas to China in the coming months.
Additional gas flows could reach 600 million cubic metres by the end of the year, he said.
Gazprom is reshaping its business strategy after losing most of its European clients over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have welcomed a proposal to boost Russia’s yearly gas supplies to China by as much as 50 billion cubic metres, but a new deal between Gazprom and the Asian nation is yet to materialise.