The Hungarian government has condemned the Ukrainian leadership’s attempt to “intimidate” the ethnic Hungarian community in Transcarpathia.
Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, reacted to his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin’s remark that he is not ruling out expelling the Hungarian consul serving in Berehove from the country after hidden camera footage showing Ukrainian citizens taking Hungarian citizenship oaths at the consulate appeared on YouTube.
Minister Szijjártó said the oath-taking ceremony in question had been conducted lawfully, insisting that Klimkin’s objection to it had more to do with Ukraine’s upcoming election. He called it a “particularly unfriendly move” to use hidden camera footage in the election campaign which he said served only to mobilize “the anti-Hungarian vote”.
According to MTI, the minister insisted that the footage had been leaked on purpose and recorded as part of an organized campaign.
The minister added that dual citizenship is common in the European Union, adding that the Ukrainian leadership’s objection to the oath taking raised questions over whether Kiev was serious about its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
Minister Szijjártó said Ukraine must honor its international obligations and accept that Transcarpathia Hungarians are still entitled to their rights “even if Ukraine is working on curbing them."
The minister added that Hungary would consider the expulsion of its consul in Berehove a “risky and unfriendly move”. Such a move would steer the two countries’ relations “into a new dimension” and would not be left without retaliation.
The foreign minister called Klimkin’s comments “the latest in the series of attacks on Transcarpathia Hungarians”. He said Hungary is constantly monitoring the situation, adding that the government was not ruling out future steps to slow Ukraine‘s European integration.