Budapest's support for Hungarians in Zakarpattia can't cross "red lines" / REUTERS

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says Budapest's support for the Hungarians in Ukraine's Zakarpattia region cannot cross the red lines.

"Yes, there is a red line. Therefore, everything you do up to the red line, supporting ethnic Hungarians, it's okay. But let's agree as soon as you cross the red line, you must be ready that we will immediately push you back. And we'll do it firmly and decisively," he told the Ukrainian TSN news service in an interview.

This is exactly what happened during the local elections, he added.

According to Kuleba, for Hungary, support for the Hungarian minority in the Ukrainian region is due to its deep conviction and is vital for politics.

Read alsoRow in Zakarpattia: Court rules to arrest property of Party of Hungarians' leaderThe official added in this issue Budapest "is ready to go as far as the neighbors may allow them." However, the Hungarians in Zakarpattia region, among other things, are also Ukrainian citizens living in Ukrainian territory.

"Therefore, it is possible to prevent, and it would be much worse if we did not prevent in reality. But there are cases when we fail to prevent and then we must be able to act decisively. And I think we have shown both models of behavior: prevention and a decisive response in case of violation," Kuleba added.

Latest row between Ukraine and Hungary

  • On November 23, a video was posted on the local Facebook community covering Zakarpattia news where members of the Siurte territorial community were seen singing the national anthem of Hungary, allegedly during the pledge of allegiance ceremony.
  • On November 30, the SBU conducted a number of raids in Zakarpattia region, targeting, among others, the chair of the Party of Hungarians of Ukraine (KMKS), Vasyl Brenzovych.
  • Detectives investigate allegedly bogus contracts concluded by Hungarian charitable foundations. According to security officials, some of the investigated actions could have been to the detriment of Ukraine's national security, including state sovereignty.
  • Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó urged the OSCE to send a special mission to Ukraine's Zakarpattia region over recent searches of representatives of Hungarian national minorities. He also promised to meet with a NATO representative.
  • On December 7, Szijjártó raised the issue of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine at the EU Foreign Affairs Council, but no one else reacted to the point.

Background

  • Relations between the two countries slid to a chill after the Ukrainian parliament in 2017 passed a new education law.
  • Hungary has since been blocking Ukraine-NATO Commission meetings, claiming alleged violation of rights of Hungarians living in Ukraine due to the provision of the law that determines that the language of command in educational facilities shall be the state language, which is Ukrainian.