Situation Of Hungarian Minority Getting Worse As Crisis In Ukraine Escalates

  • 9 Feb 2015 8:00 AM
Situation Of Hungarian Minority Getting Worse As Crisis In Ukraine Escalates
The number of Ukrainian Hungarians crossing over the border and seeking help from the Hungarian Maltese Charity has been increasing in recent days. The charity offers temporary accommodation to them in their facilities and sometimes in offices to make sure that nobody spends the night in the street, its director Imre Kozma said.

Earlier this week the Hungarian Parliament’s national security committee assessed information concerning the Ukraine conflict at a meeting. The session, which focused on ethnic Hungarians being conscripted to the Ukrainian military, was also attended by officials of state agencies, including national police chief Károly Papp.

The head of the committee, Zsolt Molnár of the opposition Socialists (MSZP), said mobilisation also affected members of the 200,000-strong ethnic Hungarian community living in Transcarpathia. Referring to the threat of terrorism all over Europe, Molnár suggested that foreigners buying Hungarian residency bonds should undergo the “strictest” screening.

The committee’s deputy chairman, Szilárd Németh, of ruling Fidesz, said that Romanians, Ruthenians, Poles and Hungarians are also being drafted in greater numbers than what their proportion within the population would justify. He added that they would seek a solution from the European Union to this problem.

It was agreed that the situation was grave and that Hungary needed to ensure protection for ethnic kin in Ukraine, Bernadett Szél (green party LMP) said after the event. According to information provided at the meeting, large numbers of people have not yet left Ukraine for Hungary, Szél said, adding however that Hungary should stay prepared for that possibility. Ádám Mirkóczki (radical nationalist Jobbik) said the Hungarian government must change its policy and “stop worrying about the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

“Ukraine will never be the same as it was,” he added. Mirkóczki demanded that the Hungarian government should “not allow Ukraine to draft a single Hungarian”. He said ethnic Hungarians should be allowed to enter the country if necessary. He also said that Hungary could even blackmail Ukraine by eg, withholding gas supplies for example to save Hungarian lives.

According to the latest census, around 150000 Hungarians live in Transcarpathia (Kárpátalja), a region which had belonged to Hungary before the First World War, to Czechoslovakia in the interwar period and to the Soviet Union following the Second World War, and which has become part of the independent Ukraine in 1991. In recent years, tens of thousands of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine have been naturalised.


Republished with permission

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