“Ukraine has launched a campaign of lies against Hungary and is spreading the vile, unfair and abject lie that the Hungarian Government’s policy of protecting Transcarpathian Hungarians is determined by a third party, Russia, while Hungarians have also died defending the country in Eastern Ukraine”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Hungarian M1 television’s Tuesday morning current affairs program.

“Hungarians are also fighting in Eastern Ukraine to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. A hundred Hungarians are fighting in Ukrainian colours and ten Hungarians have lost their lives in the fighting, including one who only just turned eighteen and several who volunteered to go into battle”, he said.

“Ukraine’s parliament has adopted an Education Act according to which children from minorities can only study in their native language until the age of twelve. Despite the decision of the Venice Commission and the expectations of the European Union, consultations with representatives of minority organisations have still not begun”, the Minister recalled.

“It is outrageous to claim that the Hungarian Government is serving Russian interests when it is defending the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians”, Mr. Szijjártó stressed.

“This is an unbelievable lie in view of the fact that it is the fundamental duty of the Hungarian Government to protect the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians and not a geopolitical decision, since the fate of 150 thousand Hungarians is at stake. It is the Hungarian Government’s  duty to stand up for all Hungarians, and Transcarpathian Hungarians are also counting on our help, and on receiving all possible assistance from Hungary’, he declared.

“As part of its NATO integration process, Ukraine draws up an annual program in which it undertakes various obligations, and in its last programme it undertook to develop respect for minority rights”, he pointed out.

“However, opposite processes are occurring, and accordingly NATO must take action”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said, adding: “It is legitimate action on the part of Hungary to use its position in NATO against Ukraine”.

Speaking on Kossuth Radio’s “180 Minutes” program, Mr. Szijjártó spoke about the fact that “nationalist forces and ideas have also been given free rein in Ukraine” in view of the fact that the central office of the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association (KMKSZ) in Uzhhorod  has been bombed twice within a single month. “The international community is showing no vehement reaction” to this, which indicates a total lack of solidarity, he said.

“Hungary has an interest in coming to an agreement, so that the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians are not restricted, but to achieve this it must also use international political instruments”, the politician highlighted.

“If something is repeated again and again, then those who live far away from here can easily be deceived, and accordingly we must be cautious and continue to fight for this issue within the international community”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)