Kyiv summons Hungarian envoy over election interference

The foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it “is deeply saddened that in this way official Budapest has brazenly confirmed its direct interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine and dealt an insidious blow to Ukraine's consistent efforts to constructively resolve the problems in Ukrainian-Hungarian relations.” [EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN ]

Ukraine’s foreign ministry summoned Budapest’s ambassador after Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó campaigned on social media for Hungarian Cultural Federation in Transcarpathia (KMKSZ) candidates during Sunday’s municipal elections (25 October), Hungarian news agency MTI reported via Evropeyskaya Pravda.

The foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it “is deeply saddened that in this way official Budapest has brazenly confirmed its direct interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs and dealt an insidious blow to Ukraine’s consistent efforts to constructively resolve the problems in Ukrainian-Hungarian relations.”

The diplomatic tensions came after Ukraine warned Hungary last week against violating its electoral legislation and what it said were attempts to interfere in the country’s internal affairs, after a local NGO alleged that Hungarian state secretary for national policy, János Árpád Potápi, was campaigning for the candidates of the Hungarian Cultural Federation in Transcarpathia (KMKSZ) during his early October visit.

“Unacceptable tips to voters from Budapest violate the legislation of Ukraine and leave the Ukrainian side no choice but to react harshly to such steps in accordance with established international practice and legislation of Ukraine,” the statement read.

Budapest and Kyiv have been locked in a row over minority rights since Ukraine’s parliament in 2017 adopted a language law that mandated the use of Ukrainian in education and other aspects of public life. In turn, Hungary continues to block Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO and the holding of Ukraine-NATO Commission talks.

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