The Hungarian government has a vested interest in restoring good neighbourly relations with Ukraine, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stressed on Wednesday in response to the fact that in his New Year’s address Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also said a few words in the mother tongues of Ukraine’s national communities, including in Hungarian.

Based on the information sent by the Ministry to the Hungarian news agency MTI, the Minister takes the view that restoring good neighbourly relations would be equally beneficial for Hungary, Ukraine and the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia. “We believe it is a nice and important gesture that the Ukrainian president also said a few words in Hungarian in his New Year’s address, and at the same time, we sincerely hope that his words will be followed by actions within the shortest possible time and the Ukrainian parliament will amend the laws on education and the use of minority languages in a way that will restore to Hungarians in Transcarpathia the rights they were earlier deprived of,” the Minister stressed. Mr Szijjártó underlined that the Hungarian government is ready for a high-level dialogue, and also in the future they will be prepared to provide all assistance necessary for promoting Ukraine’s swift development.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky incorporated Hungarian words into his first New Year’s address delivered as head of state in which he urged his compatriots to unite their efforts despite the difference they may have. In his speech broadcast in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Mr Zelensky asked Ukrainians to start thinking sincerely about who they are, and then listed a number of typical Ukrainian life stories as examples. This is where he mentioned people speaking different languages, relating the story of a person from Beregszász (Berehove) who, he said in Hungarian, “seeks to preserve his mother tongue”.