Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó on Tuesday visited the Ukrainian town of Berehove (Beregszász) where he met with leaders of Transcarpathian Hungarian organizations; this happened right after the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had recommended the Hungarian authorities refrain from travelling to Ukraine's Zakarpattia region and from other measures that could be considered meddling in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
"This was a scheduled visit; everything happened within the framework of diplomatic relations and agreed with the relevant diplomatic agencies. This is not meddling in the Ukrainian elections, and I do not think that I violate anything," the Ukrainian-registered European Pravda media outlet quoted Szijjártó as saying at a press conference in Berehove.
The Hungarian official assured that his country is interested in an improvement in bilateral relations.
"We have an interest in relations between Hungary and Ukraine improving significantly in future, and in the establishment of cooperation that is good for Ukraine, good for Hungary and good for Transcarpathian Hungarians," the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Szijjártó as saying in Berehove.
"Hungary has an interest in Ukraine being a strong, stable and democratic country, because that will have a good effect on both Hungarian-Ukrainian relations and the life of the Transcarpathian Hungarian community," he said.
"We truly hope – and hoping is not interference in internal affairs – that a parliamentary distribution of power develops in Kyiv that enables a significant improvement in relations between the two countries," he added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, July 15, expressed concern about the latest actions of Hungary's authorities that have "clear signs of meddling in Ukraine's domestic political life."
In particular, the ministry said, the Ukrainian side is concerned about the recent meeting of Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán with Head of the Society of Hungarian Culture of Transcarpathia, MP of Ukraine Vasyl Brenzovich in Budapest. Worrying are also a number of visits to Zakarpattia by Hungarian officials and public statements by Hungarian "drivers" in support of a number of candidates for the snap elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on July 21, 2019, the ministry said.
Commenting on Szijjártó's visit, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry told UNIAN that an official note provided by the Embassy of Hungary in Ukraine states that he had come at the invitation of MP of Ukraine Vasyl Brenzovich, who is running for parliament.
The ministry stresses that Clause 1 of Part 1 of Article 74 of the Law on the Election of People's Deputies of Ukraine stipulates that foreigners and stateless persons, including in public events held in support or with the support of a party that is a subject of the electoral process or a candidate running for parliament are not allowed to take part in election campaigns.
"In turn, Article 41 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides that it is the duty of all persons enjoying [diplomatic] privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry said it would ask the competent authorities to provide a legal assessment of the situation with the participation of Hungarian officials in activities in support of candidates participating in elections in Ukraine.