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Zelensky meets Hungarian president in Kyiv

by Martin Fornusek August 23, 2023 8:51 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky has met with his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Novak as she has arrived at the third Crimean Platform summit on Aug. 23, 2023. (Source: President Volodymyr Zelensky/X)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky met with his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Novak as she arrived in Kyiv for the third Crimean Platform summit on Aug. 23.

"During my meeting with President of Hungary Katalin Novak, we substantively discussed the development of bilateral relations," Zelensky wrote on his Telegram channel.

"Thank you for your visit to Ukraine and participation in the third Summit of the International Crimea Platform. And for supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. This is very important to us."

The two presidents discussed cross-border cooperation and joint initiatives in Zakarpattia Oblast, which Novak visited a day before her trip to Kyiv.

Kyiv is hosting the third summit of the Crimean Platform, an international consultation and coordination format aimed at ensuring the liberation of the peninsula from the Russian occupation.

"The sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine are unquestionable," said Hungarian President Katalin Novak during the forum.

Hungarian president arrives in Zakarpattia Oblast
Hungarian President Katalin Novak has arrived in Ukraine’s westernmost Zakarpattia Oblast, meeting local officials and leaders of the local Hungarian ethnic community, the Hungarian news portal Telex reported on Aug. 22.

Hungary has been at odds with Kyiv and the West over Budapest's amicable stance toward Russia. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban proclaimed that Ukraine is a financially "non-existent" and "no longer sovereign" state due to its "dependence" on international support.

Using its membership in Western political structures, Budapest has repeatedly obstructed aid for Ukraine, as well as sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine's Zakarpattia Oblast plays a major role in the strained relationship between the two countries. The region, bordering Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, is home to around 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, of which roughly 400 serve in the Ukrainian military.

Budapest has accused Kyiv of alleged discrimination against ethnic Hungarians in Zakarpattia Oblast. Ukrainian officials rebuked the concerns, saying that Hungarian and Romanian communities in Zakarpattia have the full support of the local government.

In the most recent scandal between the two nations, Hungarian officials cooperated with the Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Church on the transfer of 11 Ukrainian prisoners of war of Hungarian ethnic background to Hungary without Kyiv's involvement.

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