Illustration - Photo: MTI

Ministry official: Supporting Ukrainian minority in Hungary more important than ever before

Supporting the Ukrainian minority in Hungary and the representation of their rights is more important than ever before, the foreign ministry's state secretary for developing bilateral relations told a Hungarian-Ukrainian youth conference in Budapest on Saturday.

Boglarka Illes called those two goals important, citing studies suggesting that the number of Ukrainian nationals settling and currently living in Hungary has increased to over 40,000 from few thousand earlier.

The Hungarian government firmly condemns Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, she said.

Hungary has carried out the largest ever humanitarian aid operation since the outbreak of the war in neighbouring Ukraine, she said. While Hungary recognises Ukraine’s right to defend itself, it provides help in every possible form to refugees fleeing the war, said Illes.

Since February 2022, more than one million people have crossed the border to Hungary from Ukraine, she said, adding that over 5,000 Ukrainian children are ensured education and safe supplies in some 1,500 schools in Hungary.

Hungary also provides support to more than half a million families in Ukraine in the form of developing and refurbishing schools and hospitals.

Support must be provided, Illes said, arguing that there should be a focus on the future “which is in the hands of our children and our youth”. She thanked Liliana Grexa, spokesperson of the ethnic Ukrainian minority in Hungary’s parliament, for initiating and organising the conference.

“The war must be brought to an end as soon as possible, and Ukraine must be rebuilt…., and young people including the participants of this current event will play a huge role in that,” Illes said.

Grexa said the idea of taking steps to improve Ukrainian-Hungarian relations had occurred to her last December and she saw an opportunity in organising a forum for young Ukrainians and Hungarians to meet, exchange their views and so start a dialogue.

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