Row between Hungary and Ukraine escalates

A conflict is simmering between Hungary and Ukraine: Ukraine expelled a Hungarian diplomat after a naturalisation ceremony was held for Hungarian-born Ukrainians in the Hungarian consulate in the city of Berehove in western Ukraine. Relations between the two countries had already become strained after Ukrainian was made the mandatory language of instruction in schools in 2017. What is really behind the dispute?

Open/close all quotes
Unian (UA) /

Budapest wants Ukraine's skilled workers

Commenting in Unian, journalist Ihar Tyshkevich urges people not to let the superficial conflicts divert their attention from what really matters:

“I stress that the conflict does not lie in the language of instruction in schools or in the issuing of passports, but in the fact that Hungary wants to lure away our working population and have them work for the Hungarian economy, leaving behind the pensioners and the incapacitated as a burden on the Ukrainian state system. This is very simple and cynical. Yes, from the point of view of Hungary's national interests it's a completely normal position. The question is only how should Ukraine respond? It's important to realise that we must not just react to the external manifestations of the conflict (the language of instruction, the issuing of passports) and the rhetoric. Because if we do, we won't find a solution.”

Magyar Idők (HU) /

An intelligence attack on Hungary

In fuelling the conflict with Hungary, the Ukrainian government is using its intelligence service to divert attention from its failures in the fight against Russia, the pro-government daily Magyar Idők believes:

“In view of the activities of the Ukrainian secret service, it's clear that the Hungarian intelligence agencies also see a new situation. While stressing its commitment to Euratlantic integration, the Ukrainian government is actively engaged in a diplomatic and intelligence attack on Hungary. The Hungarian secret services have not been confronted with a challenge like this since 1990. After the system change many thought that not only the army but also the intelligence agencies were no longer in keeping with the times. But recent events in the world show that they are wrong.”