In reaction to a ban on Hungarian national symbols and the national anthem at a school year opening ceremony in Mukachevo (Munkács), Árpád János Potápi, the state secretary for Hungarian communities abroad, said the treatment of the ethnic Hungarian community in western Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region is “unacceptable”.
Potápi told MTI that the faculty of the Ferenc Rákóczi II Secondary School lined up with parents at the ceremony holding candles displaying the Hungarian national colours in protest of the decision. “Sadly, anti-Hungarian expressions have become regular occurrences, and what’s even sadder is that neither the county leadership nor the Ukrainian government is doing anything about it, citing municipal authority,” Potápi said. The state secretary said the Mukachevo city administration was trying to render the operations of the nearly 150-year-old school impossible “with its cynical measures”. He noted that Hungary had been the first country to recognise Ukraine’s independence 32 years ago. “And Ukraine now wants to use restrictive laws to force Hungarians living in their place of birth to assimilate or leave,” he added. “We believe that in the case of a country looking to join the European Union and NATO, the strengthening of Ukrainian identity and the war can’t serve as a basis to curb the minority rights enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution and international and bilateral treaties,” Potápi said. “We expect decisive practical steps from the leadership of Transcarpathia and President Zelensky.”
Photo credit: Facebook/Potápi Árpád János