Ukraine's accession to NATO would be beneficial to Hungary and the Hungarian community in Ukraine, but third countries, Russia in particular, are interested in worsening relations between Kyiv and Budapest, according to Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Vasyl Bondar.
"The problem of Hungary lies in it trying to use its NATO membership to meet its own goals, which we do not quite understand," Bondar said in an interview with RFE/RL, 112 TV channel reported.
"In the territory of Ukraine there are Hungarians who are part of Ukrainian society, and their security should be a key, so Ukraine in NATO would be a better thing for Hungary than otherwise, so I suspect that this is not Hungary's interest ... but in that of a third party. And it's no surprise, given certain facts," he said.
Read alsoHungary guided by imperial mindset of divided Austria-Hungary toward Ukraine - MFAAt the same time, Bondar specified that under the "third countries" he primarily refers to the Russian Federation.
"I do not want to put a blame on anyone ... But politically I can admit that Moscow's influence on Budapest, unfortunately, is growing, and this is a threat not only to Kyiv, but also to Europe, to the unity in NATO and to understanding of how Russia operates," he added.
At the same time, Bondar noted that the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban enjoyed high popular support in the latest elections, which means that "he skillfully implements his internal policies, including politically exploiting the issue of national minorities and the Ukrainian education law containing a norm on minority languages."
Read alsoRomania says language row no justification for blocking Ukraine-NATO dialogue"We basically hoped that by achieving specific goals at the domestic front, Budapest will change its rhetoric because I don't think that Budapest is interested in deterioration of relations with Ukraine, having such a large community here ," he said, noting that after the elections in Hungary, its rhetoric toward Kyiv, unfortunately, has not changed.
"This confirms once again my assumption that it is not a Hungarian interest to have a bad relationship with Ukraine, this is the interest of a third party. We are prepared to reach a compromise on a reasonable solution to the problem but we will not go for ultimatums," Bondar said.
Earlier, Bondar said that Hungary has distributed more than 100,000 passports to citizens of Hungarian origin in Ukraine's Zakarpattia region.