Hungary blocks meeting of Ukraine and NATO countries' defense ministers

Hungary blocked the meeting of the defense ministers of Ukraine and NATO countries, which was planned to be held on the margins of the meeting of heads of NATO countries Defense Ministries next week, due to the Ukrainian law on education, the head of the mission of Ukraine to NATO, Vadim Pristaiko, said.

The meeting of defense ministers of the alliance member countries will be held in Brussels on February 14 and 15.

"Due to the Hungarian position, the meeting of the defense ministers in the Ukraine-NATO format will not take place," he said, noting that the meeting "was not on the agenda of the NATO ministerial meeting."

According to him, the reason lies in the position of Hungary in relation to the Ukrainian law on education. 

"Unfortunately, the Hungarian position differs from the position of all our neighbours," Pristaiko said, noting that some countries have already reached a compromise. Thus, a bilateral protocol has been signed with Poland, negotiations with Romania are being concluded.

Answering the question whether the cancellation of the meeting with the alliance would affect the relations with Ukraine, he said that the Ukrainian side "appreciates the mechanism of the Ukraine-NATO Commission." 

"Already 21 years have passed since the signing of the charter on a special partnership between the Ukraine-NATO Commission, we meet at different levels, including my level as ambassador," the source said.

At the same time, he said that the Ukrainian side plans to "hold meetings in the near future at the level of foreign ministers and the Ukraine-NATO Commission summit." These meetings are usually held on the margins of the ministerial meeting and the NATO summit. The meeting of the foreign ministers of the alliance will be held in the spring, and the NATO summit will be held in Brussels on 11 and 12 July.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó publicly promised in January that he would block the ministerial meeting of the commission. The law on education, significantly reducing the possibility of learning in the languages of national minorities came into force in Ukraine. The governments of several countries stated that this law violates the rights of national minorities in Ukraine. Szijjártó said that Budapest would block the Ukraine-NATO Commission.

DONi News Agency