Péter Szijjártó, Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs, said on Friday that “Hungary cannot support Ukraine’s integration aspirations and therefore vetoed the convening of the NATO-Ukraine Summit in December” during a press conference in Budapest.
Accusing Ukraine of brutally mutilating the rights of minorities living in the country, Szijjártó said Hungary “cannot leave it without speaking.” Back in September, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a controverted law on education, leaving Russian-speaking Ukrainians without any possibilities to continue their studies in their native language.
According to the UNIAN Information Agency, “The law specifies that the language of the educational process at schools and colleges is the national language. It is also stipulated that educational institutions, according to the educational program, could teach one or more subjects in two or more languages, namely the national language, English or other official languages of the European Union.”
Hungary, through their veto, are also protecting the Transcarpathian Hungarian community. The small Hungarian community could very well see its culture completely vanished by this new education bill.
Through this law, citizens of Ukraine in the Donbass and other predominantly Russian-speaking regions, whom have been speaking Russian for generations, will have to abandon their language and adopt one of the state-approved language. The self-proclaimed Republics will never accept that and their independence claims will be further strengthen by Ukraine’s willingness to erase minority cultures. The reunification of Crimea and Russia was also based on Ukraine’s willingness to erase the Russian culture and adopting Ukrainian as the only official language of the country, making it impossible for the vast majority of Crimeans to interact with government officials.
Since the reunification, Russia has significantly boosted it’s A2/AD in Crimea thus making it almost impossible for NATO to safely navigate in the Black Sea without being tracked.
Because of Hungary’s veto, the NATO-Ukraine Summit will be canceled as unanimity is needed to convene it. The NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) is responsible for developing the relationship between the Alliance and Ukraine.
Last July, an amendment to Ukraine’s main law related to security was signed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to start the process of becoming a member of NATO.
According to Russia Today, “the amendment was backed by 276 of the 450 lawmakers in the Verkhovna Rada on June 8. The authors of the draft asserted that NATO membership will help Ukraine “strengthen national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “stop Russian aggression,” as cited by Ukrinform media outlet.”
However, I believe Ukraine will never join the Alliance as long as there in an ongoing conflict within its own territory. The new education law that violates the rights one of the biggest minority in Ukraine will also greatly play against their intention to join NATO as Hungary demonstrated by vetoing the summit.
That said, the new education bill sparked controversy among its neighbors and will have to be addressed if Kiev wants to keep an open dialogue with NATO. Until then, Ukraine seems to be slowly isolating themselves, a scenario that could be disastrous for the Ukrainian population.