(Bloomberg) -- Hungary said Ukraine’s temporary suspension of Budapest’s OTP Bank from its list of “international sponsors of war” in an effort to unlock European Union military aid doesn’t materially change the situation.
The Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention also temporarily suspended five Greek shipping companies from its list, according to a statement on its website.
The moves followed “negotiations between the agency’s representatives and representatives of companies and governments in these countries” to terminate cooperation Russia, the Kyiv-based agency said.
“The agency hopes that this decision will lead to Hungary’s unblocking of €500 million ($529 million) of vital EU military aid” and eliminate the possibility of Greece blocking a future EU sanctions package aimed at Russia.
The effort isn’t a “material change,” and Hungary won’t contribute to further EU funding for arms transfers to Ukraine as long as OTP, the nation’s largest lender, isn’t permanently struck from the list, Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mate Paczolay was quoted as saying by state news service MTI.
Read more: Orban Says Ukraine Can’t Win War as He Justifies Veto on Aid
The Ukrainian agency created the “sponsors of war” list after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 as a way to pressure on companies that continue to operate in Russia. One of the list’s “levers” is cooperation with the World-Check database, which is used by banks and insurance companies to assess risk. Chinese companies currently dominate, followed by the US; the companies named include Xiaomi Corp, Mondelez Internatonal Inc, Unilever Plc, Pepsico Inc and Raiffeisen Bank International AG.
The agency added OTP bank to the list in May, spurring a strong response from Hungary, which immediately said it would block the EU’s military aid.
OTP maintains business in Russia and Ukraine but it has said that a presidential decree is preventing it from selling its Russian unit. It has rejected claims of supporting Russia’s war and has publicly backed Ukraine.
--With assistance from Marton Kasnyik.
(Updates with Hungarian reaction in first and fifth paragraphs.)
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