Foreign minister: Ukraine preparing ‘third blow’ against national minorities
Ukraine is preparing a “third blow” against its national minorities, with the president initiating parliament to approve a law on imposing sanctions on dual citizens in a priority procedure, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, said on Tuesday.
The first blow was an amendment to the education law, followed by a second blow which involved declaring the language law unconstitutional and planning its amendment, the minister told a press conference.
Ukraine is taking action against its national minorities “in an unprecedentedly despicable and pre-meditated” manner, Szijjártó said.
Ukraine’s president is working together with the parliament in gradually taking away the acquired rights of minorities, while pursuing a “campaign of lies” and pretending to be victims of geopolitics, he added.
Although the country aspires to become a NATO member state, the new legislation would declare dual citizens of Ukraine and a NATO country a risk to national security, Szijjártó said, adding that
“no Transcarpathian Hungarian can be considered a risk to Ukraine’s national security.”
Hungary will maintain its veto of Ukraine’s NATO accession, even in the face of mounting international pressure, unless national minorities’ rights are restored, he said. The veto is the country’s only tool to protect the rights of Transcarpathia Hungarians, and Hungary is not prepared to relinquish it, he said. Should Ukraine restore the rights of its ethnic Hungarians, Hungary will lift the veto.
The solution is in Ukraine’s hands, he said.
Commenting on a recent report of Financial Times saying that EU cohesion funds may be made conditional on compliance with the EU’s core values in the future, Szijjártó said it was “dangerous to present cohesion funds as if they were humanitarian aid.” These funds are regulated by European agreements, and the central European countries have fulfilled their obligations in opening their markets to western companies, which “have made enormous profits”. Imposing additional obligations would be contrary to European values and agreements, he said.