“The Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade cannot be intimidated in the dispute with Ukraine concerning dual citizenship”, the Ministry’s Minister of State for Information and Hungary’s International Image declared at a press conference in Budapest on Sunday.

Tamás Menczer said that in Ukraine anti-Hungarian attacks are occurring with the involvement of the administration and state, as proven by the fact that Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó was added to the list of enemies of Ukraine of an extremist Ukrainian website after criticising President Petro Poroshenko.

“But the Hungarian Foreign Minister cannot be intimidated and Transcarpathian Hungarians can naturally continue to count on Péter Szijjártó and his definite, unconditional and determined support”, the Minister of State stressed.

He emphasised that the claims made by the website in question, according to which Mr. Szijjártó threated Ukraine with military intervention, are not true. Nothing of the kind has ever happened, however the Minister maintains every one of his previous claims, such as the fact that the current Ukrainian President and government forces are attempting to gain support and votes by drumming up extremist sentiment. “They are also using the Hungarian community for this purpose, which the Hungarian Government regards as unacceptable, not least in view of the fact that Ukraine is preparing for NATO and EU membership”, he added.

Mr. Menczer said the attack against Transcarpathian Hungarians had moved to another level when Ukrainian secret services conducted an operation at the Hungarian Consulate in Berehove (Beregszász), with which they “broke all written and unwritten diplomatic rules”.

With relation to the affair, the Minister of State said that Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó had met with his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday in New York on the sidelines of the high-level meeting of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. At the meeting, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister admitted that there exists no law in Ukraine that bans citizens from possessing a passport from another country. In addition, not law prevents the provision of another country’s passport and it is also not an offence for someone not to report the fact that they are also in possession of a passport from another country, explained Mr. Menczer, who confirmed that Hungary will not be recalling its Consul General or Consul from Berehove in view of these affairs, “no matter how much the Ukrainians recommend this”.

He underlined the fact that events at the Consulate General in Berehove are in harmony with Hungarian and international law and do not contravene any Ukrainian regulations. In addition, Mr. Menczer recalled that a few days ago Transcarpathia’s Ukrainian governor said that at least half of Ukraine’s Members of Parliament are dual nationals, and accordingly the attack on the Hungarians is unacceptable.

The Minister of State told reporters that the Hungarian minority in Ukraine is being systematically intimidated and stripped of its rights. He reminded the press that Ukraine’s new Education Act strips local Hungarians of their right to study in their native language, and changes to the Language Act raise grave concerns that they are also planning to repress the Hungarian language within the fields of culture, media and public administration.

The headquarters of the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association have been attacked twice, and on the second occasion it was successfully blown up, and meanwhile the owners of Transcarpathian small and medium-sized enterprises that are taking part in the Transcarpathian development programme being funded by the Hungarian Government are being regularly “invited in for questioning”, the Minister of State explained, adding that Hungarian diplomats are also being continuously hassled.

In reply to a question, Mr. Menczer said the head of the Foreign Minister’s security team has been informed of Mr. Szijjártó’s inclusion on the list on the extremist Ukrainian website, and the required measures have been taken.