Lipavský: Czech Republic wants to enforce divestment from Russian oil during EU Presidency

Kateřina Šulová

The Czech Republic will strive to stop importing oil from Russia and minimize relations during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates) said this after meeting the Central 5 foreign ministers (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria).

“During our presidency, I would like to stop oil imports from Russia,” Lipavský said, adding that contacts with Russia should be minimized. He said that Ukraine must be encouraged to join the EU, and the Czech Republic, therefore, intends to organize a donors’ conference during its presidency.

Hungarian Minister Péter Szijjártó said that his country does not intend to get involved in the war in Ukraine, although it defends Ukraine’s sovereignty. He recalled that, although the country supported all five sanctions packages, he said that Hungarians could not agree to sanctions on oil or gas because of the country’s energy security.

“We want to guarantee a secure energy supply to Hungary,” he added.

Slovak counterpart Ivan Korčok reminded the country that it would need time to wean itself off dependence on Russian gas and oil. Unlike Hungary, the Slovaks intend to continue to support Ukraine with military equipment.

Slovenian Minister Anže Logar hoped that the EU would agree to another package of sanctions if necessary. In his view, the mistakes made by the EU after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 can not be repeated.

Speaking for Austria at the press conference, Alexander Schallenberg recalled Monday’s meeting between Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He also mentioned the importance of solidarity and coordination of the refugee wave. He, too, foresees further sanctions, although he believes that it is necessary to adopt sanctions that hit Russia harder than his own country.