Slovakia to assist Hungary in lifting EU sanctions on Russian oligarch

Bratislava, March 16 (IANS) Slovakia supported Hungary’s proposal to lift sanctions on several Russians, including Russian-Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who is close to Vladimir Putin, at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in February, said a Swedish news portal, citing diplomatic sources, as quoted by Ukrainska Pravda report.

It added that the issue of lifting sanctions against Usmanov was the subject of negotiations between Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar with their Hungarian counterparts in Budapest in December 2023.

At that time, the Slovak authorities requested Hungary’s support for the exclusion from the EU sanctions list of businessman Jozef Hambalek, who was included due to his ties with the Night Wolves Russian biker organisation close to Putin, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

The Swedish news portal noted that the Hungarians decided to “take advantage of the situation” and, in exchange for supporting the removal of Hambalek from the sanctions list, they asked Slovakia to support the exclusion of several other Russians.

As per several media reports Bratislava complied with this request concerning them.

These individuals include Arkady Volozh, founder of the Russian Yandex company; Sergei Mndoiants, a Kremlin advisor on EU relations; as well as Alisher Usmanov, former Formula-1 racer Nikita Mazepin, and Russian billionaire Viatcheslav Kantor.

While Volozh and Mndoiants were reportedly removed from the sanctions list alongside Hambalek, strong objections were raised within the EU regarding Usmanov, Mazepin and Kantor, and EU sanctions against them remained in place.



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