Ukraine & Hungary expel each other's consuls

The Man

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Inscriptions in two languages, Ukrainian and Hungarian, are seen on a road sign of Berehove, a small town in western Ukraine.

Ukraine has declared a Hungarian consul persona non grata and demanded he leave the country within 72 hours.

The Foreign Ministry on October 4 accused the diplomat, who is based in the western Ukrainian town of Berehove near the Hungarian border, of "activities incompatible with the status of a consular officer."

The move comes after Kyiv accused Hungary's Consulate in Berehove of illegally issuing passports to ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine.

In response to Ukraine's decision, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a press conference that his country was expelling a Ukrainian consul in Budapest.

Szijjarto also reiterated a threat to block Ukraine's accession to the European Union and NATO.

In a Facebook post, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin warned on October 3 that "the events around the distribution of Hungarian citizenship in Berehove, let's say, do not add joy."

"They only complicate the already not perfect relationship between the two countries," he added.

In its statement, the Foreign Ministry expressed hope that the Hungarian side "will refrain from any unfriendly steps toward Ukraine in the future, and that its officials will not violate Ukrainian legislation."

It said that Kyiv considered Ukrainian citizens of Hungarian origin as a "unifying factor" in the two countries' relations, and called on Hungary "to do the same."

There are almost 200,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine's Zakarpattya region, where Berehove is located.

Speaking during a visit to Moscow, Szijjarto on October 3 accused Kyiv of "constantly" violating the rights of the country's Hungarian minority.

The expulsion is the latest in a series of diplomatic rows between Ukraine and Hungary, an EU and NATO member.

The latest tensions were triggered by a video that surfaced last month allegedly showing ethnic Hungarians being handed Hungarian passports in the consulate in Berehove.
Ukraine, Hungary In Diplomatic Tit-For-Tat Expulsions Amid Passport Dispute

lol I understand Kiev's worry. The Ukrainians recall all too well Russian officials freely handing out their passports in Crimea for years, with full knowledge and complacency of the local branch of the SBU (Ukraine's national security agency), most of whom were either sympathetic to or bought out by the Russians

They know how THAT ended... I doubt anyone there will ever forget formerly Ukrainian officers walking out of bases encircled and blocked by the Russians, waving their Russian passports to show they are switching sides...

Now, Hungary is also handing out their passports to their people in Western Ukraine. If this continues, maybe Poland will decide to hand theirs out in Lvov in future :D

What will be left of Ukraine, this way?! ;)
 

Chief

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#2

Inscriptions in two languages, Ukrainian and Hungarian, are seen on a road sign of Berehove, a small town in western Ukraine.



Ukraine, Hungary In Diplomatic Tit-For-Tat Expulsions Amid Passport Dispute

lol I understand Kiev's worry. The Ukrainians recall all too well Russian officials freely handing out their passports in Crimea for years, with full knowledge and complacency of the local branch of the SBU (Ukraine's national security agency), most of whom were either sympathetic to or bought out by the Russians

They know how THAT ended... I doubt anyone there will ever forget formerly Ukrainian officers walking out of bases encircled and blocked by the Russians, waving their Russian passports to show they are switching sides...

Now, Hungary is also handing out their passports to their people in Western Ukraine. If this continues, maybe Poland will decide to hand theirs out in Lvov in future :D

What will be left of Ukraine, this way?! ;)
Crazy.

Do you think there will be conflict?
 
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The Man

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Crazy.

Do you think there will be conflict?
Hopefully not. You never know over there, though... Orban in Hungary is another nationalist whack job, just like many powerful people in Russia; and, FWIW, plenty in the Ukrainian government too...

Too much nationalism all over the place over there. That's the problem...
 
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The Man

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BEREHOVE, Ukraine — When the Hungarian State Opera visited a town just over the border in western Ukraine last month to perform a patriotic opera, 3,000 people in the audience rose to their feet for the playing of the Ukrainian and then Hungarian national anthems.

What followed, however, was a striking display of discordant allegiances.

The audience, gathered in the Ukrainian town of Berehove in an outdoor amphitheater, stood mute during the Ukrainian hymn and then burst into boisterous song for the anthem of Hungary, a foreign country.

The spectacle explains why, whether along Ukraine’s border with Russia in the east or on its western frontier with the European Union, border-straddling bonds of language and culture make it so difficult for Ukraine to hang together as a single, unified state. It is a clue as well of the skillful exploitation of nationalist impulses by Hungary’s leader, Viktor Orban, to cement his increasingly autocratic rule.

Mr. Orban has avoided threats of force to right what he calls historic wrongs that put millions of Hungarians outside their country’s border. But the fear is that having positioned himself as the leader of a populist surge across much of Europe with his strident attacks on immigration and the European Union, Mr. Orban now risks reopening Europe’s most dangerous Pandora’s box: the grievances of ethnic groups caught outside their homelands.
Much more: At War With Russia in East, Ukraine Has Worries in the West, Too
 

The Man

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A diplomatic spat between Hungary and Ukraine has escalated, with Budapest summoning Kyiv's ambassador to protest what it called a "death list" targeting ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine as well as military movements on their common border.

Ukraine's "anti-Hungarian policy has moved to a new level," Hungarian Foreign Ministry official Levente Magyar told reporters in Budapest on October 10. He accused Kyiv of inciting tension between the two neighbors.

Hungary, which is a European Union and NATO member, has cited a growing number of grievances against Kyiv in reportedly attempting to block Ukraine's efforts towards closer cooperation with the Western bloc and military alliance.

"We call on our EU and NATO allies...to thoroughly examine what is going on in Ukraine," Magyar said.

Magyar claimed that an estimated 100,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine's western Transcarpathia region that borders Hungary have been "frightened" by such developments as the recent emergence of a list of some 300 names on the website of the Ukrainian nationalist group Myrotvorets.

He said the list includes Hungarian officials -- including Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto -- as well as ethnic-Hungarians in Transcarpathia alleged to have taken up dual citizenship, which is illegal in Ukraine.

"It is a death list, because it names Ukraine's supposed enemies," Magyar said. "It has happened before that people who appeared on such a list became murder victims."

Magyar also expressed "concern" that the website of the Ukrainian parliament has posted a citizens petition that calls for the "collective deportation" of dual citizens.

He also said that Ukraine has moved military units to the Hungarian border region, and is building barracks there.

Responding to reporters' questions, Magyar said the Ukrainian Ambassador Lyubov Nepop denied Kyiv's involvement in either the list or the petition, and said the troop movements were to protect local citizens.

Officials in Kyiv did not immediately respond to Budapest's allegations.

The latest diplomatic clash follows a flare-up after an undercover video emerged last month which appeared to show a Hungarian diplomat in Ukraine handing out passports to ethnic Hungarians.

Kyiv responded by expelling the Hungarian consul in Transcarpathia, prompting Budapest in turn to expel a Ukrainian consul in Hungary.

Relations between Hungary and its eastern neighbor began deteriorating a year ago after a language bill was approved by Kyiv that Budapest said limited ethnic Hungarians' rights to receive education in their mother tongue.
Hungary Protests Ukrainian Military Moves, 'Death List' Of Dual Citizens
 

Helena

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Now, Hungary is also handing out their passports to their people in Western Ukraine. If this continues, maybe Poland will decide to hand theirs out in Lvov in future :D

What will be left of Ukraine, this way?! ;)
I don't know about Poland but apparently many journalists and politicians in Ukraine thought we were going to do it. No way, though.

The Czech Embassy in Ukraine has issued a statement rejecting speculations currently being circulated in Ukrainian media and suggesting that the Czech Republic plans to grant Czech citizenship to former Czechoslovak citizens from the Carpathia-Ruthenia region in Western Ukraine. The region was part of Czechoslovakia in 1918-1938. The embassy resolutely denied that any project of giving out Czech citizenship en bloc was being prepared.
Link in case anyone reads Ukrainian (I don't):

https://www.mzv.cz/kiev/uk/x2005_11_03/x2018_09_26.html
 
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The Man

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I don't know about Poland but apparently many journalists and politicians in Ukraine thought we were going to do it. No way, though.



Link in case anyone reads Ukrainian (I don't):

https://www.mzv.cz/kiev/uk/x2005_11_03/x2018_09_26.html
Too bad. I'm sure many there would jump for those passports, a way out of that shithole...

I've seen polls. Among educated young people, in both Russia and Ukraine, at least a quarter would gladly move to the West if they had the chance...
 

The Man

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A hidden-camera video of a citizenship ceremony that appears to show Ukrainians pledging allegiance to Hungary has triggered a treason investigation in a country grappling with Russia's annexation of Crimea and currently at war with Moscow-backed separatists.

Ukraine's constitution bars people from holding multiple citizenships.

The footage purportedly shows Ukrainians singing the Hungarian national anthem and taking a citizenship oath at the Hungarian Consulate in Berehove, a Ukrainian town of 24,000 near the border.

They are then told not to show their new Hungarian passports at the Ukrainian border by people who appear to be consular staff.

The issue of foreign passports being handed out in a region with a strong ethnic enclave is especially sensitive in Ukraine. Years before Crimea was annexed by Moscow in 2014, high-ranking Ukrainian officials alleged that Russian passports were being given out to local residents.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin sees Moscow’s hand behind the alleged Hungarian meddling, which he believes is aiming to “destabilize the region and Ukraine in general.” While Hungary is in the European Union and a NATO member, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has an amicable relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine is due to go to the polls in March. It has been trying to strengthen ties with the West since its pro-Russian government was toppled in 2014.

Klimkin didn’t provide any evidence of Russia’s alleged involvement. However, he called what happened in the video a national security "challenge" for Ukraine.

NBC News was not able to independently verify the veracity of the video, which first appeared on YouTube in September.

However, the footage is being investigated by Ukraine’s security services. It also prompted tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats from both countries last month.

An estimated 150,000 ethnic Hungarians live in the Zakarpattia region on the western border of Ukraine, a former part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. Berehove, or Beregszász as it’s known in Hungarian, is a hub of Hungarian culture in the region. Nearly half of the town's residents identify as Hungarian.

Relations have been testy between Budapest and Kyiv since the fall of 2017, when an education law passed by Ukraine angered Hungarian officials. The law mandates that Ukrainian language be used exclusively in secondary schools, even in the country's ethnic enclaves, to help minorities integrate.

But Hungary saw the move as a violation of minority rights.

Budapest's actions to undermine Ukraine’s cohesion is "pressure from another flank on Kyiv,” said Orysia Lutsevych, a research fellow with the London-based Chatham House think tank.

“This is a new pressure point for Ukraine,” Lutsevych added, warning that the situation could "get out of control."

Hungary has denied any wrongdoing.

“Dual nationality is everyday practice within the E.U., and accordingly the Ukrainian objections do not indicate that Kyiv is serious about European integration and joining NATO," Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjárto said after the video emerged.

Ukrainian officials believe more than 100,000 Hungarian passports have been handed out to Ukrainian citizens of Hungarian descent in Zakarpattia in recent years.

Orban, who is known for his strong anti-migrant stance and tight control of the media, has openly condemned Western sanctions against Russia and accused the E.U. of having a “one-sided” policy towards Moscow.

“The changing nature of Hungarian government with Orban being more aligned with autocracy and having links or a kind of common understanding with the Kremlin and Putin, suddenly makes Ukraine very nervous about Hungarian policy in Zakarpattia,” Lutsevych said.

But that policy goes back decades, according to Balazs Jarabik, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

After losing much of its territory in the aftermath of World War I, Hungary has long tried to engage with and protect its ethnic communities abroad.

Jozsef Antall, the first democratically elected Hungarian prime minister, famously stated in 1990 that he considered himself the leader of 15 million Hungarians — not only the 10 million living within its borders.

In 2011, Hungary passed a law to make it easier for ethnic Hungarians living abroad to obtain citizenship. To date, more than one million Hungarian passports have been handed out to ethnic Hungarians in a handful of neighboring states — including Ukraine.

But despite Hungary’s cornerstone policy of building symbolic ties with its communities abroad, the video that emerged from Berehove doesn’t come across as a “kosher” practice to the government in Kyiv, according to Jarabik.

Even though Hungary maintains that the granting of passports in Berehove was legal, he says the political climate means it is being seen as a potential threat in Ukraine.

“For Ukrainians, this reminds them of Russian practices and anything that reminds Ukrainians of Russian practices is obviously a security challenge,” Jarabik said.

Hungarian officials have previously called suggestions that their policy in Zakarpattia is serving Russian interests "an abject lie."

Jarabik said Ukraine might be using the footage and diplomatic spat as a way to "mobilize patriotic voters."

He added: “Hungary has kind of become a sparring partner in this. And Hungary is not Russia ... Kyiv knows that there is no real threat from Hungary.”

Lutsevych says instead of engaging in a blame game with Budapest, Kyiv needs to build meaningful dialogue with ethnic Hungarians in Zakarpattia.

“Hungarian communities there are not willing to engage with Kyiv to discuss their problems,” Lutsevych said. “They are more willing to engage with Budapest and that’s not normal.”
Alleged pre-election meddling by NATO member sparks anger in Ukraine

Video:
 

The Man

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In early October, Andriy Minchuk found himself blacklisted, right alongside Ukraine’s enemies.

His personal information was leaked online by Peacemaker, a publication that boasts ties to the Ukrainian security services. It posts personal information about the “Kremlin’s agents,” including separatists in southeastern Ukraine and turncoat officials and servicemen in Russia-annexed Crimea.

This was no small matter. A pro-Russia publicist and a former lawmaker were shot dead in April 2015, days after Peacemaker disclosed their addresses. Other blacklisted people have faced threats, harassment and travel bans.

But Minchuk, who lives in Transcarpathia, an impoverished western region of Ukraine, insists that he did nothing to warrant inclusion on the list. His transgression, it appears, was being one of some 100,000 ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine who hold Hungarian passports.

Peacemaker published his personal information, including the number on his Hungarian passport, in a list of some 500 public servants and state employees who had obtained Hungarian citizenship – making them “separatists” and “traitors.”

But Minchuk denied ever holding a government job – let alone fomenting separatist views. He said the leak could harm him, his wife and their 3-year-old son.

“I’m an average guy, I work hard, I pay my taxes,” the 33-year-old IT expert said in an interview. “This is very bad for me and my family.”

Although Ukraine prohibits dual citizenship, the only punishment is a minuscule fine. Yet, the blacklisting threw Minchuk into a political maelstrom that imperils Ukraine’s pro-Western course, tests its commitment to multiculturalism and plays into the hands of its archenemy, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s far-right and Euroskeptic leader who said that Putin “has made his nation great again,” is Moscow’s staunchest ally in the European Union.

Orban also champions the “integration” of the 2 million-plus Hungarian diaspora that remained in Slovakia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine after a 1920, post-World War I treaty deprived Hungary of two-thirds of its territory.
Much more: Caught between two rivals, ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine walk a fine line
 

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