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Kiev (MTI) – Ukraine is tolerant of the ethnic minorities living in its territory and respects their rights in accordance with international norms, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman told MTI in an interview ahead of his visit to Hungary.

Groysman is scheduled to begin a two-day official visit to Budapest on Thursday.

He noted that Ukraine’s government devotes close attention to the development of the Ukrainian language but stressed that this did not mean that it restricts the use of Hungarian among the ethnic Hungarian communities. He said his government aimed to provide ethnic minorities a chance to become proficient in Ukrainian.

On the subject of an education bill which Hungarian organisations based in Transcarpathia say violates ethnic Hungarians’ fundamental right to be taught in their native language, Groysman said the education ministry had held multiple consultations with minority representatives on the matter. He pledged that the government would consider its discussions with minority groups when it finalises the bill.

As regards Hungarian-Ukrainian ties, Groysman said Ukraine considers it important to intensify cooperation with Hungary. He noted that the two countries have a number of joint economic, cultural, infrastructure and energy-related investment projects in progress. He said that in his talks with Hungarian officials later this week, he would also discuss bilateral cooperation in the fields of environmental protection, infrastructure, energy as well as cooperation along the Hungarian-Ukrainian border.

On the topic of Ukraine being granted visa-free status by the European Union, Groysman said Kiev had fulfilled every requirement for a visa waiver. He said it was now up to the EU to come to a decision in the matter as quickly as possible. He said his country greatly appreciated Hungary’s support for granting Ukrainian citizens EU visa exemption.

Concerning the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, the prime minister said Kiev was still aiming to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis, adding, however, that in order to achieve this, Moscow would have to adhere to international law and heed the demands of the international community that it end its occupation of Crimea.

Source: MTI

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