EU sanction problems: Hungary opposed to economic sanctions against Russia says PM

Crimean schoolchildren dressed as Soviet navy servicemen perform the change of the honor guard ceremony at the Memorial to the Heroes of the defense of Sevastopol 1941-1942 in Sevastopol, Crimea. It was the first change of guards since the beginning of the unrest in Ukraine. The monument’s eternal flame was lit in honor of Russian soldiers who died defending the city against the Nazis

(Reuters) – Hungary is against the European Union imposing a round of economic sanctions on Russia over its intervention in Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban was quoted as saying in an interview published on Friday.

The central European country of 10 million people relies on Russia for about 80 percent of its natural gas needs and recently signed a 10 billion euro deal with Moscow for Rosatom to expand Hungary’s Paks nuclear plant, a major power generator.

Russia is also Hungary’s largest trading partner outside the European Union, with exports worth 2.55 billion euros in 2013.

“Economic sanctions are in the third round and it would be fortunate to avoid these because it is not in the interests of either Europe, or much less Hungary,” Orban was quoted as saying by the business daily Vilaggazdasag.

Messages over the past week from officials in the EU’s 11 ex-Communist member states indicated that most are going to resist any attempt by the bloc to impose the next stage of sanctions – on trade and economic ties…