Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó received the Russian Order of Friendship from Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, in Moscow on Thursday, for his work on developing Hungarian-Russian ties.
Szijjártó said on Facebook that he was “proud of maintaining a cooperation based on mutual interests and trust with Moscow, despite daunting global and regional tendencies”. Hungary’s success in fighting the European energy crisis and the coronavirus pandemic hinged on the decision to pursue a foreign policy rooted in national interests, Szijjártó said. “We used Sputnik vaccines to speed up the vaccination campaign back in the spring, and the gas purchase agreement concluded in September [with Russia] guarantees our country’s energy security,” he said. The Order of Friendship is the most prestigious Russian award given to a foreign official for furthering international cooperation with Russia. Recipients include former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
In another Facebook post, Szijjártó said 2021 had been the all-time best year for Hungarian-Russian cooperation. He also said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will meet President Vladimir Putin in early February.