Hungary Condemns Ukraine’s ‘Crackdown’ On Ethnic Hungarians
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Hungary has condemned what it views as Ukraine’s ill-treatment of minority ethnic Hungarians, many of whom are Christians.
However, “our long history has shown us that the key for survival in these times is the depth of Christian faith,” said the head of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás.
He spoke at the general assembly of the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, Ukraine’s oldest Protestant denomination, according to comments obtained by Worthy News on Monday.
Christians say the Reformed Church, founded in the 16th century, faces “challenging times” as Protestants in a wartorn Orthodox nation and an ethnic Hungarian minority in a Slavic country.
Kyiv’s enforcement of the military draft for ethnic Hungarians, as well as fuel shortages and inflation caused by the war, added to problems cited by local Christians and Hungarian officials.
Hungary’s government has also been outraged about the reported removal of Hungarian flags, statues and language signs in Ukraine’s western Transcarpathia region.
Ukrainian authorities also ordered the removal of Hungarian flags from public buildings, and the director of the Hungarian grammar school in the city of Mukachevo was dismissed.
The Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association (KMKSZ) expressed dismay at the firing of István Schink.
The reported crackdown on the rights of the nearly 160,000 ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine comes amid mounting tensions between Kyiv and Budapest.
Hungary, a NATO alliance member, has refused to meet Ukrainian requests to deliver weapons or allow military exports to the country from its territory.
Kyiv is also upset about Hungary’s perceived pro-Russian stance and refusal to support all European sanctions against Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February last year.
Both nations recently summoned each other’s ambassadors over a series of misgivings.
However, speaking to the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia over the weekend, Gulyás stressed that “when we help the ethnic Hungarians in Transcarpathia, we also help Ukraine.”
He said that Hungary had supported hundreds of thousands of refugees and backed ethnic Hungarian institutions in Transcarpathia looking after people fleeing warzones.
Gulyás stressed that Hungary provided 31 billion forints (nearly $87 million) in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. And, charities delivered 3,500 tonnes of donations, worth 7 billion forints (over $22 million) to the country, he noted.
Gulyás said that Hungary wants to be Ukraine’s friend, “but this is made difficult today by intentional misunderstandings and steps that violate the rights of the ethnic Hungarian community.”
While Ukraine protests the violation of its sovereignty under international law, it can’t “neglect basic rights and international norms affecting the ethnic minorities living on its territory,” he argued.
The Hungarian men that fight under Ukraine’s flag “deserve to be treated as the country’s own,” Gulyás stressed.
He disagreed with allegations that Hungary is cozying up to the Kremlin. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Friday that Hungary, a European Union member state, would veto EU sanctions targeting Russia’s nuclear energy.
Under a multi-billion dollar deal signed in 2014 with Russia, Hungary aims to expand its only nuclear power plant with Russian support.
However, Gulyás suggested that the Hungarian government’s relationship with Russia doesn’t mean that Budapest agrees with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“With disregard for international law, Russia has attacked its neighbor, which has defended itself heroically,” he said. Hungary condemns the aggression, and “we bow our heads to all the soldiers fighting for their home and for freedom,” Gulyás added in published remarks.
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