Budapest summons Ukrainian ambassador over the removal of the Hungarian flag from a town hall in Transcarpathia

The Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, stated that the Ukrainian ambassador was summoned to the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to an incident in Berehove in Transcarpathia, where participants marched under the flags of "Freedom," "Falcon," "Legion of Freedom," and other national-patriotic organizations and removed the flag of Hungary from the town hall.

As a result, Szijjártó said, he called on Ukrainian authorities to restrain the nationalist manifestations of these organizations.

According to him, in a country where state institutions function well and which tries to integrate into Euro-Atlantic structures, they should not tolerate this manifestation, and similar events by Ukrainian nationalists in Transcarpathia.

The Minister, while in Brussels, also expressed the hope that the Ukrainian authorities will investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

A month ago, on October 13th , in Hungary, supporters of the right-extremist party, Jobbik (the Movement for a Better Hungary) protested in front of the Ukrainian Embassy in Budapest, as reported by Radio Liberty. They came out under the slogan "Self-determination for Transcarpathia," despite strong protests from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

Granting permission for this event, representatives of the Hungarian authorities explained their actions, stating that citizens in Hungary, according to the constitution of this country, are free to express their thoughts and views.

 On October 12th, in Berehove, where the Hungarians make up the largest proportion of residents by nationality, a group of representatives of nationalist organizations removed the national flag of Hungary from the town hall, which for many years, by the decision of local authorities, has been next to the flag of Ukraine and the flag of the EU, as well as that of the town itself. According to reports, the police prevented an attempt to burn it.

Relations between Ukraine and Hungary have sharply deteriorated recently due to the new Ukrainian law "On Education," which provides for the gradual transition and introduction of the use of the Ukrainian state language in schools. Budapest saw it as a violation of the Hungarian minority’s rights and declared that because of this, it would block all European integration initiatives in Ukraine and seek pressure from the EU on Kyiv. In Kyiv, they denied accusations of violating the rights of minorities, which have been levied from Hungary as well as several other neighboring countries.

  Hungary, Ukraine