<figure> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.10/article/5bb6225efc7e93b2138b45bd.jpg"> <figcaption>FILE PHOTO. An Elderly Hungarian woman votes in Budapest. © Laszlo Balogh LB/GB / <span class="copyright">Reuters</span></figcaption> </figure> <strong>Ukraine's relations with neighboring Hungary suffered a new blow after Kiev expelled Hungary's consul in a western Ukrainian region, accusing him of illegally offering citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living there.</strong> The chief of the Hungarian consular mission in Berehove was ordered by Kiev to leave Ukraine within 72 hours for <em>"activities incompatible with the status of a consular officer"</em>, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said kicking out the Hungarian diplomat was a matter of principle, but not a signal that Kiev wants its relationship with Budapest to worsen.
“Wherever the Hungarian side wants to continue cooperation, we will do so,” he said. “We have a strategy of robust, consistent but constructive dialogue.”
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto denied that Budapest’s diplomat did anything to violate the laws of either of the two nations or any international diplomatic treaties, saying all of Hungary’s missions in Ukraine “act within the law”.
Hungary responded by expelling the Ukrainian consul in Budapest. Klimkin said Hungary’s reaction was “absolutely and fundamentally inadequate” in a tweet, apparently referring to the Ukrainian diplomat’s higher status as an embassy worker.
The expulsions culminate in a two-week row over hidden camera footage, which was broadcast by the Ukrainian media and allegedly showed a swearing in ceremony of Ukrainian citizens in the Hungarian consulate in Berehove after receiving Hungarian citizenship. It included pledging allegiance to Hungary and an instruction not to inform Ukrainian officials about receiving the new citizenship.