Parliament’s foreign affairs committee has released a statement condemning a local council’s decision to remove the statue of a turul bird from the Mukachevo (Munkács) Castle in western Ukraine, calling on the Ukrainian government to dissociate itself from the move.
In a resolution, the committee said it was “shocked to learn of the scandalous circumstances of the removal of the Turul statue in Mukachevo”. “The committee firmly condemns this pointless and barbaric move aimed at the intimidation of the Transcarpathian Hungarian community, the destruction of universal cultural heritage and the poisoning of Hungarian-Ukrainian relations,” it said. The committee said Ukraine had been “continually and methodically” dismantling the cultural, educational and linguistic rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians since the approval of the 2017 education law. The committee said Ukraine ignored its international obligations to protect the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious rights of national minorities.
It expressed concern over the “continued harassment” of ethnic Hungarian organisations and the “intimidation” of the Hungarian community’s democratically-elected leaders. The resolution emphasised the committee’s commitment to strengthening cooperation, dialogue and mutual trust between Hungary and Ukraine, in which it said the Transcarpathian Hungarian community played a key role. The committee reaffirmed its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying it “feels the pain of the suffering” caused by the military aggression against the country by Russia, adding, however, that the war could not serve as an excuse to infringe on the rights of ethnic Hungarians. The removal of the Turul statue goes against the requirements concerning the rule of law and democracy that European Union candidate countries are expected to comply with, which Ukraine accepted at the start of the accession process, the committee said.