Ukraine has suspended OTP Bank's international war sponsor status, fulfilling Hungary's demand. This also applies to five Greek shipping companies accused of aiding Russian oil evasion.
The Ukrainian National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NACP) has made a significant announcement, suspending the international war sponsor status previously accorded to Hungary's OTP Bank, a move that Budapest had vehemently called for. This development was reported by the European Pravda website on Friday.
In addition to OTP Bank, the NACP has extended its scrutiny to include five Greek shipping companies, previously accused by Kyiv of illicitly transporting Russian oil to circumvent price regulations.
The decision to revoke OTP Bank's international war sponsor status came about through negotiations between NACP representatives and counterparts from these businesses and governments. The focus of these discussions centered on discontinuing collaboration with the Russian Federation, though specific details were not disclosed by the NACP.
Kyiv is now anticipating a response from Hungary and hopes that Budapest will unlock a tranche of EUR 500 million from the European Peace Fund. Similarly, there are expectations for Greece to rescind its intentions to obstruct future EU sanctions packages designed to curtail Russia's capacity to sustain its ongoing conflict. However, the NACP underscores that the removal of these Greek companies and the Hungarian bank from the list of international war sponsors hinges on their adherence to the terms of cooperation with Russia.
The backdrop to this development dates back to May, when the Ukrainian National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption included OTP Bank, Hungary's largest bank, on the list of war sponsors. This decision was influenced by the bank's stance on maintaining operations in Russia and its tacit acknowledgment of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR).
In response, Hungary promptly cautioned that the inclusion of OTP Bank on the list of war sponsors would significantly hinder Budapest's ability to reach a consensus with the EU on fresh sanctions against Russia. Hungary also threatened to obstruct the release of new tranches from the European Peace Fund as a consequence of this move.