Hungary expects Ukrainian leaders to make every effort to stop the attacks and atrocities suffered by ethnic Hungarians, Tamás Menczer, the foreign ministry’s state secretary for external relations, said on public radio on Friday. Menczer reacted to reports that Hungarian flags and signs have been removed in Mukachevo district (Munkács), in western Ukraine, and the director of a local Hungarian school, István Schink, was sacked.
Before the war, “the ethnic Hungarian community was being stripped of their rights”, he said, citing measures that restricted the use of their mother tongue and education in Hungarian. “We always used to take firm action against this, but then the war broke out, and we said that since Ukraine was the attacked side in the war, we put aside the existing conflicts,” he added.
At the same time, the recent developments must not be left unmentioned, he said. “All anti-Hungarian actions are unacceptable, but all of this happened in Mukachevo district and not in the whole of Transcarpathia,” he said. “We very much trust that such anti-Hungarian actions will not be experienced elsewhere,” he added. “We have called on local leaders in Mukachevo district to have the anti-Hungarian measures withdrawn and the status quo ante restored immediately, and told Ukraine’s national leaders that we expect them to make every effort to ensure that local leaders act respectfully, and the attacks and atrocities against ethnic Hungarians are stopped,” he said.
“Despite the war, conditions are reasonably calm in Transcarpathia and it would be very good if this remained the case,” he added. He also said that if Ukraine wants to be a member of the European Union and follow European values then that is not compatible with stripping ethnic communities, or any minority, of their rights.
Menczer also reacted to criticism by the Slovak foreign minister about Hungary, stating that the Hungarian prime minister and the government had been elected by the Hungarian people, and if Rastislav Káčer keeps insulting the Hungarian prime minister, then he does not accept Hungarians’ decision, thereby he insults them.