The foreign minister said Hungary is prepared to keep helping Ukraine in the future, but it also expects Kiev to respect the rights of the local Hungarian community.
Speaking in Vilnius on Wednesday, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said a strong and prosperous Ukraine is in Hungary’s interest, but it is also crucial that the Ukrainian government guarantees the acquired rights of the country’s Hungarian minority, including their right to use their mother tongue.
The minister said Hungary is not requesting anything “extra”, only that the Ukrainian government restore the rights the Hungarian minority had enjoyed before law was changed, referring to minority groups’ use of their native language in public administration, education, the press and culture.
Minister Szijjártó also noted the existence of a Ukrainian website listing the country’s “enemies”, which also contains the names of several representatives of Ukraine’s Hungarian minority and Hungarian state officials. The minister asked the conference’s participants to do everything in their power to shut down the website. In regards to the pandemic, Minister Szijjártó said Budapest will carry on with its vaccination campaign in the Transcarpathian region irrespective of the nationalities of those registering for a jab. Also, Hungary once more intends to organise summer camps for Ukrainian children from families affected by conflict in eastern Ukraine after the pandemic has passed, he added.
The minister noted that Hungary has also donated ventilators to Ukraine and said Hungary was also prepared to supply Ukraine with gas to help overcome its shortage. The minister also noted that Hungary had been the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Ukraine after it gained independence in 1991, adding that Hungary was Ukraine’s fourth most important trading partner in the European Union. Hungary values Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Minister Szijjártó said, adding that the Hungarian government had always urged closer cooperation between Kiev and the EU, including a visa waiver for Ukrainian citizens.