The situation in eastern Ukraine has deteriorated recently, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Tibor Navracsics said on Thursday. Addressing a joint session of the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on National Security he stated that "the situation in eastern Ukraine is not moving towards stabilisation. An optimistic version is to say that the situation has not improved, or more pessimistically, it has worsened a little," he added.

Hungary has three goals with regard to the Ukranian crisis: a peaceful settlement and stabilisation; to see Ukraine emerge from the crisis as a democratic, independent state with territorial integrity and respect for minority rights; and to protect the needs of the ethnic Hungarian minority in western Ukraine, Mr Navracsics said.

Mr Navracsics said the downed Malaysian flight had brought a turning point in the crisis. Since then US and European peace efforts were strengthened and sanctions against Russia expanded.

The "heavy, unilateral boycott" introduced by Moscow impacting agricultural products has hit Eastern and Southern European economies hard. Hungary is the fifth most impacted country after the Baltic states and Poland. The damage caused to Hungarian agricultural exports is estimated to be around 70 million HUF (223,000 EUR) per day and for this reason Hungary has indicated to the European Union its need for compensation, he added.

Ukraine's reinstatement of conscription does not mean a declaration of war, it is only a preparation for mobilising the reserved forces. Ukrainian foreign minister Pavel Klimkin has promised that the conscription will not affect Hungarians in Transcarpathia disproportionately, Mr Navracsics stated. He noted that the Hungarians in Transcarpathia are the most vulnerable of all Hungarian minorities abroad.

After a briefing on the Ukraine crisis and its military, economic and diplomatic impacts the session continued behind closed doors.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)