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Privileges to certain languages in Ukraine’s education law to worsen situation — diplomat

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova considers Kiev's steps "discrimination and language racism"
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Yegor Aleyev/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
© Yegor Aleyev/TASS

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. Russia is worried about Kiev’s plans to offer preferences to the languages of certain national minorities under the law on education as it thinks that such actions will only aggravate the situation in case discrimination of the Russian language stays in place, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

"We were worried to see reports in a number of the Ukrainian mass media that Ukraine’s infamous law on education that has been condemned in the world as discriminatory will be amended with new provisions on preferences to the Hungarian language and other European Union languages," she noted. "Naturally, we are glad for our Hungarian partners that their compatriots will be granted certain privileges. But the question arises: what about the rights of millions of Russian-speaking people and people of other ethnic communities?"

She said that it is a shame that one of the state-constituting nations in Ukraine - the Russians - "will be striped of the possibility to receive education in their native language they, and many Ukrainians as well, have been speaking and using in their everyday life for centuries."

"We are seriously worried over this fact," she stressed. "Such steps cannot be described other than discrimination and language racism. In other words, the Kiev authorities have only aggravated the situation."

Russia, in her words, continues to call on the international community to take effort to prevent suppression of right of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population and condemn the actions of the Kiev authorities which violate the Ukrainian constitution and their international commitments.

Ukraine adopted a highly controversial Law on Education at the end of September heavily restricting the right of ethnic minorities for getting education in their native languages. As provisions of the law take effect stage by stage over the next few years, instruction in the languages of minorities will be reduced to the elementary school only while all further instruction will be done in Ukrainian only.