German journalist: The Transcarpathian incidents have worsened Ukraine-Hungary relations

German journalist Florian Kellerman of Deutschlandfunk analyzes attacks on Hungarian structures of Transcarpathia. 

Kellerman dismisses Ukrainian version that the scandalous attack on the Hungarian center in Uzhgorod was carried out by two Poles or two Ukrainians, who came from Poland as “abusrd”

“This story seems absurd: two young guys from Poland went to Western Ukraine, stopped there at a hostel in a small town of Uzhgorod, and then attacked … the Hungarian cultural center. Absurd? Of course! And yet all this really happened in early February. Adrian M. and Tomas S. were detained in Poland shortly after the of crime. They intended to set the cultural center on fire with Molotov cocktails. A few weeks later, another attack occurred – more professional. This time it was Ukrainians. The cultural center burned to the ground, the office adjoining to it is completely ruined. Every week something happens “

Over 150 thousand ethnic Hungarians live in Ukrainian Transcarpathia, and recently there have been several attacks on Hungarian cultural institutions.

Josif Borto, deputy chairman of the Hungarian Cultural Association in Ukrainian Transcarpathia questions the events:

“We wonder who could order this? Who wants to heat up the hostility in Transcarpathia, where peace reigns between different nationalities? “

Until recently Hungarians of Transcarpathia were not a common theme in the news reports. However, after the publication of the infamous Law on Education, the Ukrainian Hungarians felt that their rights were being violated under the new regime. Hungary also filed a strong protest as about 50 thousand Transcarpathians have Hungarian passports. “And now, almost every week, something happens. Most recently, for example, someone has scratched cars with Hungarian license plates.”

According to the Ukrainian government the incidents have nothing to do with the Hungarian-Ukrainian relations. The conflict is brought in Transcarpathia from the outside, says the head of the district administration Gennady Moskal

“The Russian special forces have a special unit for these things. Its task is to inflame conflicts in other countries, for example, in Georgia and Moldova, but above all in Ukraine. They want to destabilize the situation in Western Ukraine, on the border with the EU. So that the Ukraine will not be able to join the EU and that Brussels would introduce a visa regime for Ukrainians. “

The Ukrainian government suspects that these people were simply lured by money. Allegedly, the person who maintained contacts with them was from Transdniestria, a region closely connected with Russia, which split from the Republic of Moldova in the early 90s.

But in Ukraine, some criticize attempts to blame Moscow for incidents as Ukrainian nationalists in Transcarpathia keep making headlines. Recently, they attacked participants of a rally for Women Rights

Yevgeny Balitsky from the Ukrainian party “Opposition block” says: “We can not write off our non-professionalism all the time. Perhaps, the Russian special service was involved, I do not rule it out. But if it was, then it was only because we are weak as a state. “


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