Tension rises between Ukraine and Hungary as Kiev accuses Budapest of meddling


KIEV – The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine accused Hungarian authorities of interfering in the internal affairs of Kiev on Monday.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry has also called on the Hungarian authorities to refrain from visiting the Zacarpatia region until the Ukrainian parliamentary elections are held on Sunday.

“At the meeting with the Hungarian ambassador to Ukraine, Istvan Ijgyarto, in the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine [Deputy Minister] Yegor Bozhok expressed concern about the latest actions of the Hungarian authorities, who have clear signs of interference in the domestic political life of the Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.

The chancellor said she was concerned about visits by Hungarian authorities to western Ukraine – Zacarpátia – in addition to public statements by Hungarians in support of some candidates for seats in the Ukrainian parliament.

Zacarpatia is a Ukrainian administrative region whose southwestern portion has a strong presence of Hungarians.

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According to the Ministry, the head of the Hungarian premier’s office, Gergely Gulyas, paid an informal visit to the Uzhhorod district in the region, using his diplomatic passport and ignoring previous recommendations from Kiev.

“We regard these actions on the Hungarian side as a violation of the diplomatic canons and the spirit of good neighborliness. The Ukrainian side reserves the right to take measures to prevent Hungary’s interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine,” he said.

Relations between Ukraine and Hungary deteriorated due to a Ukrainian law of 2017 that restricted the right of children of national minorities to study their native languages.

In September, tensions increased further after reports that the Ukrainian consulate in Berehove, a city located in the Zacarpatia region, near the Hungarian border, issued Hungarian passports for Ukrainian citizens. This was done despite the fact that Ukraine does not recognize dual citizenship. The measure led Kiev to expel the Hungarian consul from the country, to which Hungary responded in the same way.

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