Hungarian far-right threatens to annex part of Ukraine

A Hungarian far-right politician has threatened to annex a part of Ukraine that is home to a large Hungarian minority, in the event of Ukraine’s collapse due to the Russian invasion.

The leader of Hungary’s far-right Our Homeland party, Laszlo Toroczkai, announced his intention to annex a part of Ukraine that has a large Hungarian minority population, in case Ukraine collapses as a result of the Russian aggression. He made this statement on Saturday night at a meeting of several European far-right parties in Budapest, where he invited representatives from Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Dutch Forum for Democracy, among others, to join his cause.

Toroczkai said that his party’s position on the Ukrainian crisis was clear: he demanded an immediate halt to the hostilities, a peaceful settlement of the conflict, and a dialogue between the parties involved. He also advocated for the self-determination of the ethnic Hungarians living in the western region of Ukraine, known as Transcarpathia, where they make up about 12% of the population, or around 150,000 people. He said that his party was the only one in Hungary that supported the autonomy of the Hungarian community in Ukraine.

He added that if the war led to the disintegration of Ukraine as a sovereign state, which he considered a possible scenario, then he would claim Transcarpathia as part of Hungary. He said that this was his party’s historical and moral duty, and that he had the support of the audience, who applauded his words.

Neither the Hungarian Foreign Ministry nor the Ukrainian Embassy in Budapest reacted immediately to Toroczkai’s provocative remarks, which were posted on his party’s website in a video. However, the Hungarian government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has previously expressed its solidarity with Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, according to a summary of Orban’s interview on public radio in December, published by government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, is scheduled to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, and the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal, in Uzhhorod, a city in Transcarpathia, on Monday. The purpose of the meeting is to prepare for a possible summit between Orban and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who have not met since 2019.

The relations between Hungary and Ukraine have been strained by the issue of the linguistic rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, who have faced restrictions on the use of their native language in education and public administration. Hungary has accused Ukraine of violating the rights of its compatriots, while Ukraine has accused Hungary of interfering in its internal affairs and supporting separatism.

Hungary, which is also a member of NATO, was the only European Union country that opposed the launch of EU accession negotiations with Ukraine last month. Orban was excluded from the decision-making process by the other EU leaders, who asked him to leave the room when they agreed to start the talks. However, Orban still managed to block the proposal to increase the EU budget for Ukraine by 50 billion euros, which was intended to help the country cope with the Russian invasion. The EU leaders are expected to discuss this issue again at an emergency summit next Thursday.

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