Photo from UNIAN

"In Transcarpathia [Zakarpattia], the situation of civil war was created by the Ukrainian authorities," the Hungarian MEPs with Fidesz and KDNP claimed in a statement, also condemning the alleged use of "armed forces" against the leaders of the Hungarian community organizations.

It must be noted, however, that the SBU, which confirmed it had conducted the raid in the criminal case into the possible threats to state sovereignty of Ukraine, is not part of the Ukrainian armed forces but a security agency.

MEPs pointed out that the raids are "part of an unacceptable process" where Ukrainian government, they claim, has been "trampling on national minority rights."

They have also recalled the two Ukrainian laws – on education and on language – that Hungarian authorities have been protesting against, adding that the raids are a continuation of "all these atrocities."

MEPs say the SBU searches were "politically motivated, aimed at intimidation and pressure."

Hungarian lawmakers went as far as comparing the raids to "methods of the Stalinist regime."

Read alsoHungarian FM urges OSCE to send special mission to Zakarpattia region"In the associated country of the European Union, which has repeatedly expressed its intention to integrate into the European Union and NATO, it is unacceptable for such cases to happen, so we take the initiative in the European Parliament to put this unprecedented violation on the December plenary agenda," MEPs said.

Ukraine-Hungary relations: 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.

According to the Venice Commission's conclusion of December 8, 2017, Ukrainian authorities were recommended to balance the provision of the language article of Law on Education.

On January 16, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, passed bill No. 0901 on secondary education, offering the three models of Ukrainian language learning in schools.

In May 2020, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto visited Kyiv where he met with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. Following the meeting, Kuleba said that together with Szijjarto, he would recommend that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán hold a meeting in Kyiv in July. That meeting was never held.

In September, Kuleba said Ukraine would not be amending its education law, adding that the government will negotiate its implementation with Hungary.

Following local elections on October 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said it "deeply regrets" Budapest's brazen interference in the election by promoting the Hungarian Culture Society of Zakarapattia.

In response to the meddling effort, Ukraine barred entry to two high-ranking officials from Hungary and handed a note of protest to the Hungarian ambassador.

Peter Szijjarto has referred to Ukraine's move as "pathetic and senseless," pouring more fuel onto the fire.

In late November, in Ukraine's far-western Zakarpattia region, the Security Service (SBU) conducted a warranted search in the home of Vasyl Brenzovych, leader of the KMKSZ Party (Party of Hungarians of Ukraine) along with a number of other raids targeting other individuals. Security operatives were investigating the alleged action toward violation of Ukraine's state sovereignty.

"Possible interference is being studied into the internal affairs of Ukraine and harm to national security through the spread of fake news claiming that the Hungarian legislation and jurisdiction of its state bodies extend to certain regions of Ukraine," the SBU said.

Also, the SBU is now investigating reports about a group of deputies of the Siurte village in Zakarpattia singing a Hungarian national anthem while pledging allegiance following local elections.

MFA Ukraine has summoned  Ambassador of Hungary István Íjgyártó over the said incident.