The Hungarian consul who can be seen in a leaked video overseeing Ukrainian citizens taking Hungarian citizenship oaths at the Hungarian consulate in Berehove (Beregszász) did not violate any of Ukraine’s laws by conducting the ceremony, a retired academic at the Ukrainian academy of sciences has said.
Mihály Tóth, retired senior research fellow at the academy’s Faculty of Law, told MTI on Monday that Ukrainians who took oaths of Hungarian citizenship had not broken any Ukrainian laws either.
Tóth argued that Article 4 of Ukraine’s constitution says in “vague wording” that only “one (uniform)” citizenship can be exercised in Ukraine.
This is stated in Article 2 of the country’s citizenship law, which states that only one citizenship can be recognised in a given administrative district within Ukraine. The same article says that if a Ukrainian citizen acquires the citizenship of another country, or if a foreign national acquires Ukrainian citizenship, they can only be recognised as Ukrainian citizens “in terms of their legal status with Ukraine”, Tóth said.
This means that Ukrainian authorities only recognise an individual’s Ukrainian citizenship, he said, adding that this did not mean that Ukrainian citizens are banned from also taking up another citizenship.
Those who say that it is against the law to be a dual citizen in Ukraine often refer to Article 19 of the citizenship law, which says those who willingly take up citizenship of another state must be stripped of their Ukrainian citizenship, Tóth said.
But, he said, this article is in conflict with Article 25 of the constitution, which declares that no one can be stripped of their Ukrainian citizenship or their right to freely change their citizenship. The citizenship law’s Article 2 and Article 19 also contradict each other, Tóth added.
Because of these contradictions, the government cannot impose sanctions against dual citizens in the current legal environment, he said.
Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine’s foreign minister, reacted to the hidden camera footage of the oath-taking ceremony, saying that he would not rule out expelling the Hungarian consul who conducted the ceremony.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has condemned the recording of the ceremony, saying that “by conducting an intelligence operation at a Hungarian consulate”, Ukraine had “violated every existing written and unwritten rule of international law and diplomacy”.
The two ministers are expected to discuss the matter in New York on Tuesday.