Slovakia banned even singing the Hungarian national anthem on sports events or school celebrations, now Ukraine continued with not letting Hunor Kelemen enter the country. In fact, the leader of the Transylvanian Hungarians wanted to go to a celebration of local Hungarians, and Ukrainian authorities did not say anything about why they did not let him enter the country. Furthermore, it seems that their ambassador to Romania is lying.
He wanted to celebrate together with local Hungarians
Hunor Kelemen told MTI that he wanted to cross the border with his Romanian diplomatic passport at Záhony-Csap but, after more than an hour long senseless waiting, he was told that he is
banned from the country until 13 October 2020.
Mr Kelemen was given a Ukrainian record and a stamp in his passport that he cannot enter the country for a one-and-a-half-year period – kronika.ro, a Transylvanian Hungarian news outlet reported.
The president of the ethnic Hungarian party of the Transylvanian Hungarians RMDSZ (Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania) said in a Facebook post that he wanted to travel to Uzhhorod (Ungvár, Sub-Carpathia, Ukraine) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia. “I would have liked to talk about the long road we have walked together, all the Hungarian nations in the Carpathian Basin, from the fall of the communist dictatorship up until now, and about today’s challenges” – he added.
Hunor Kelemen told Mediafax, a Romanian news agency, that he has not been to Ukraine for more than 20 years. He added that
it cannot be allowed that Ukraine bans a Romanian citizen without any explanations.
He said he had informed the Romanian foreign minister of the matter and would complain and seek an explanation at the Ukrainian embassy in Bucharest on Monday.
Is the Ukrainian ambassador lying?
According to the Ukrainian ambassador to Romania, Hunor Kelemen was banned from Ukraine in 2017, and the chairman of RMDSZ already tried to get to the country since then. The diplomat called the situation “absolutely awkward but natural” in one of his Facebook posts and added that the ban of Mr Kelemen is in effect since 3 November 2017. He also said that Kelemen wanted to enter Ukraine
with his Hungarian passport since then.
“Therefore, he knew the decision of the Ukrainian authorities well” – Oleksandr Bankov concluded. According to Mr Bankov, it is a common practice in Europe that a country does not give an explanation regarding a ban. “Of course, I am open and regard it as an honour to give further explanation to Mr Hunor Kelemen” – he said.
Mr Kelemen said in a new post that Oleksandr Bankov’s statement, which says that he previously tried to enter Ukraine with a Hungarian passport, is not true. He added that
in the past 20 years, he has not been to Ukraine
and he had never used a Hungarian passport. “I can present the documents of today’s incident. So, I ask Mr Oleksandr Bankov, the Ukrainian Ambassador, to also present the similar documents which supposedly banned my previous entry to Ukraine” – he concluded.
Mr Kelemen told Digi24, a Romanian TV station, that
he does not even have a Hungarian passport.
He added that what happened to him harms the Romanian-Ukrainian basic treaty which says that it is the right of each ethnic minority living in the two countries to maintain relationships. About the possible reasons, he said that he – together with other Romanian politicians – raised a voice against the discriminative new Ukrainian law on education.
MTI wrote that Hungary’s foreign ministry had summoned the Ukrainian ambassador to a meeting on Monday to address the ban on Mr Kelemen’s entry to Ukraine. Foreign Ministry state secretary Tamas Menczer added that
the entry ban was “unacceptable” and “anti-Hungarian”.
Not the first time
This is not the first time Ukraine bans Hungarian politicians from the country. As we reported before, in 2015, President Petro Poroshenko banned
- Marton Gyongyosi, Jobbik MP and Vice President of the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee
- Adrienn Szaniszlo, foreign associate of Jobbik
- Gabor Szeles, businessman, owner of Echo TV and Magyar Hirlap
- Ferenc Szaniszlo, Echo TV presenter, and
- Gabor Gyoni, editor of oroszvilag.hu, lecturer and fellow researcher of ELTE Department of Russian Studies.
In 2014, Kiev banned Jobbik MP István Szávay. Earlier, Protestant pastor Jr. Lorant Hegedus had a similar incident.
This is not the first scandal in connection with the Hungarian minorities this week. From 15 May,
even singing the Hungarian national anthem will be punishable
by a EUR 7,000 fine, for example, at football matches or school celebrations in Slovakia where half a million Hungarians live in one block in the southern part of the country because of the peace treaties after WWI and WWII. However, now it seems that the Slovak President will not sign the related bill.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/KelemenHunor