Far-Right Parties in Europe Stake Claims on Ukrainian Territories

Political tensions in Eastern Europe have escalated as the Hungarian far-right party Our Homeland, led by Laszlo Toroczkai, declared its claim to Ukraine’s Zakarpattia Oblast. The controversial statement was made on January 27 during a party conference in Budapest, attended by representatives of other far-right parties from Europe, including Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Dutch Forum for Democracy.

Zakarpattia Oblast, located on Ukraine’s western border with Slovakia and Hungary and to the south with Romania, has become a focal point due to its significant population of ethnic Hungarians. The long-standing issue of minority rights has strained relations between Hungary and Ukraine, with linguistic policies being a major point of contention.

The 2017 Ukrainian language law, requiring at least 70% of education above fifth grade to be conducted in Ukrainian, has been a source of friction. In response, Our Homeland has called for increased autonomy for ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine and neighboring countries with a Hungarian diaspora.

“If this war ends up with Ukraine losing its statehood, because this is also on the cards, then as the only Hungarian party taking this position, let me signal that we lay claim to [Zakarpattia Oblast],” stated Toroczkai at the conference.

Critics have accused Our Homeland, currently holding six seats in Hungary’s parliament, of nativist views and controversial rhetoric. Dora Duro, a party member in the Hungarian parliament, previously asserted in an interview with Russian state-controlled media that Ukraine would need Russia’s permission to join NATO.

Hungary’s Foreign Ministry has not provided official comments on Toroczkai’s statements. The development coincides with a scheduled meeting between Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on January 29 in Uzhhorod, Zakarpattia Oblast.

In the lead-up to the meeting, Hungary’s Magyar Nemzet, closely affiliated with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, criticized Ukraine’s press freedom and media directives, further straining bilateral relations.

Hungary’s stance on Ukraine has been a point of contention within the European Union (EU). Budapest, maintaining warm relations with Moscow, blocked a 50 billion euro ($54 billion) aid package from the EU in December 2023, with EU leaders set to reconvene on February 1 to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, Romanian right-wing populist party AUR, led by Claudiu Târziu, has also entered the fray, expressing readiness to sacrifice Romania’s NATO membership by annexing territories from Ukraine. Târziu’s statements have raised concerns, and he has been criticized for his approach towards warming relations between Romania and Russia.

Information for this story was found via The Kyiv Independent and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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