Hungary/Ukraine – With the war going on in eastern Ukraine, many Ukrainians have taken refuge in Subcarpathia, a region in the west of the country where a large Hungarian minority lives. To cope with this extraordinary situation, the Hungarian authorities have been giving a helping hand to the charities and humanitarian organizations working in the region.
The Hungarian Secretary of State responsible for aid to persecuted Christians as well as the government program Hungary Helps, Tristan Azbej, visited Subcarpathia in late March to meet with those behind the relief effort. As he reported himself:
“At the invitation of Greek Catholic Bishop Nile Lushchak of Munkács [Moukatchevo], I visited the regions of Subcarpathia where many people have fled from elsewhere in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Alongside the fear and uncertainty, I saw hope, a willingness to help, and an expression of love for one’s neighbours.
The main activists in this relief effort are the charities and churches working in Subcarpathia, which are very grateful for the support of Hungary’s people and government. (…)
We are helping the victims of the war in Ukraine with the largest humanitarian operation in Hungary’s history, but the only real solution would be an immediate ceasefire and peace negotiations.”
Azbej recalled that Hungary had already spent 130 billion forints (approx. 340 million €) in humanitarian aid for Ukrainians and had taken in one million refugees.
At the same time, the Hungarian army confirmed to the media that it was training the Ukrainian military’s medical personnel. Hungary has not lifted its veto of NATO-Ukraine meetings, however, due to the worsening situation of the Hungarian minority in Subcarpathia as a result of a 2017 educational reform that has significantly reduced their right to an education in their language. But NATO now looks set to ignore Hungary’s opposition, as Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has now announced a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission for the beginning of April.