Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs & External Economy Peter Szijjarto. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)


Serbia to boost supplies of Russian gas to Hungary


If Ukraine follows through on ending a gas transit agreement with Russia, Serbia has promised to provide Hungary with increased supplies of Russian natural gas.

Hungary’s foreign minister Péter Szijjártó said Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić had assured him his country would help in case Kyiv decides not to prolong an existing accord permitting the passage of Russian gas across Ukrainian territory.

“We’ve heard in recent days that Ukraine would like to terminate the previously concluded natural gas transit agreement with Russia,” Szijjarto said. “Today, the Serbian president made it clear that if Hungary would like to increase natural gas shipments through Serbia to Hungary, then Serbia can ensure the necessary shipment capacities.”

Approximately 80 per cent of Hungary’s natural gas is sourced from Russia, primarily through the TurkStream pipeline that traverses Serbia. Hungary has been a strong opponent of Western sanctions against energy from Russia.

“Once again, it has been demonstrated that the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline was a strategically sound decision,” said Szijjártó .

“Close collaboration with the Western Balkan countries and Central Asian nations will ensure Hungary’s energy security,” he added.

The accord allowing the passage of Russian gas through Ukraine is set to conclude in 2024. Ukrainian Minister of Energy Herman Halushchenko stated that Kyiv has no plans to extend the agreement that facilitates the delivery of Russian natural gas to European nations via Ukraine.

Even following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Hungary has continued its efforts to optimise its access to Russian fossil fuels, asserting their significance for its energy security.

Hungary is also strengthening its energy supply via Turkey. Turkish President Recep Erdoğan met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Budapest on August 20 and energy, together with Sweden’s membership of NATO, stood high on the agenda for both countries. At the meeting, Hungary decided to buy 275 million cubic metres of gas from Turkey next year.

Among the other notable figures at the meeting were the presidents of Serbia, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, alongside President Serdar Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan.

An agreement was also signed with Azerbaijan on storing 50 million cubic metres of gas on Hungarian soil.