“Ukraine has no legal basis for expelling the Hungarian Consul in Berehove, and accordingly Hungary will provide a response to such an act that corresponds to the principle of reciprocity”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in Moscow following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a press conference on another topic.

Mr. Szijjártó was reacting to a statement on Wednesday by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, according to which on Thursday the Foreign Ministry in Kiev will be informing Hungary in a diplomatic message that the Hungarian Consul in Berehove (Beregszász) will have to leave the country. In the background of the measure is the fact that the Hungarian Consul provided Hungarian passports to certain members of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia.

“The Hungarian Consul in Berehove has not committed any act that infringes on regulations, his activities have not contravened Hungarian, Ukrainian or international law”, Mr. Szijjártó stressed. “All affairs at Hungary’s diplomatic representations in Ukraine are conducted legally, and accordingly we see no reason to recall the Hungarian Consul in Berehove”, he emphasised.

“If Kiev decides that our Consul must be kicked out, I will immediately kick a Ukrainian Consul out of Hungary in response”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“Kiev has ruined the previously excellent relations between Ukraine and Hungary through its measures aimed against the Hungarian minority”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister highlighted.

Mr. Szijjártó also reacted to the fact that extremist nationalist Ukrainian organisation Mirotvorec (Peacemaker) has included him in its public database of enemies of Ukraine, citing the fact that in a previous statement Hungary’s chief diplomat called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to account for “repressing Ukrainian Hungarians”.

“There are more serious issues, such as the fact that the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine are being continuously violated”, he said, citing the Ukrainian Education Act, which has still not been amended.

“Despite this, we have an interest in maintaining good, neighbourly relations with Kiev; it is the Ukrainian President and his Government who have ruined the excellent relations between our country and Ukraine”, Mr. Szijjártó stressed.

Two weeks ago, Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform leaked a hidden camera video of Ukrainian citizens taking oaths of Hungarian citizenship and receiving Hungarian passports at the Hungarian Consulate in Berehove, which was also published on YouTube. Relations between Hungary and Ukraine worsened further because of the tape.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin declared that the staff of the Hungarian Consulate in Berehove have broken Ukraine’s laws, and by doing so have violated the Vienna Convention on consular activities. He also objected to the fact that Consulate staff recommended that the takers of citizenship oaths keep their Hungarian passports secret from the Ukrainian authorities.