Ukraine has given a Hungarian consul 72 hours to leave country after accusing his consulate of illegally issuing passports to ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Ukraine accused the consul, who is based in the western town of Berehove near the Hungarian border, of "activities incompatible with the status of a consular officer." The expulsion is the latest in a series of diplomatic rows between Ukraine and Hungary, which have led to Hungary promising to block Kiev's aspirations to join the European Union and NATO.
"We hope that the Hungarian side will refrain from any unfriendly steps towards Ukraine in the future, and that its officials will not violate Ukrainian legislation," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin had warned in a Facebook post on Wednesday that "the events around the distribution of Hungarian citizenship in Berehove, let's say, do not add joy. They only complicate the already not perfect relationship between the two countries." Ukraine's move to oblige teachers to use only Ukrainian in secondary schools prompted Hungary's Foreign Minister last year to say bilateral relations were at their lowest point since the fall of the Soviet Union. According to Kiev the law is about ensuring that all Ukrainian citizens can speak the state's official language, and it denies that the law is discriminatory.
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