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Hungary seeks presence of SMM monitors after anti-Hungarian rallies in Transcarpathia

On November 12, radical activists staged a march in the city of Beregovo at which they were chanting xenophobic slogans

MOSCOW, December 7./TASS/. Hungary asks the OSCE to send a mission of monitors to Ukraine’s Transcarpathian region amid demonstrations in the region against representatives of the Hungarian national minority, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told an OSCE Ministerial Council meeting on Thursday.

"We are concerned about the tensions in the Transcarpathian region where 150,000 Hungarians have been living," he said.

"Anti-Hungarian demonstrations have taken place there, which mobilized people from other parts of Ukraine as well, where our national symbols were desecrated and anti-Hungarian slogans were chanted," he said.

"That is why we call for a permanent presence of SMM monitors on the ground in the Transcarpathian region as well," the senior diplomat said.

"The legal basis is given for that since the mandate of the SMM mission already extends to the entire territory of Ukraine," Peter Szijjarto said. He also said that Ukraine’s "new law on education does not help" in easing tensions.

On November 12, radical activists staged a march in the city of Beregovo at which they were chanting xenophobic slogans. Besides, they tore down the Hungarian flag from the building of the rural council of Yanoshi and Gat settlements, and tried to set it on fire. With this in view, the Hungarian foreign minister summoned the Ukrainian ambassador and urged the Ukrainian authorities to curb nationalist manifestations. Differences are seen between Kiev and Budapest over Ukrainian parliament’s passing the law on education, whose provisions on the languages of national minorities outraged several European countries, including Hungary.

At the end of September, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a revised law on education, which stipulates that the instruction process can be done in the Ukrainian language only. Before 2020 all the languages of ethnic minorities including Russian will be taught only through Grade 5, and all the instruction process as of Grade 6 and upwards will be switched over to Ukrainian.

Poland, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Hungary, and Russia have leveled sharp criticism at the law. PACE said on October 12 the law would put up obstacles for education of members of ethnic minorities.