The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is now investigating reports about a group of deputies of the Siurte village in Zakarpattia singing a Hungarian national anthem while pledging allegiance following local elections.
“In Zakarpattia, the Security Service of Ukraine, within its competence defined by legislation, is checking information on possible signs of law violations in the actions by deputies of the Siurte rural united territorial community,” the SBU press service reports.
At the same time, the SBU confirmed that the incident, which was captured on the video that leaked on social networks and went viral across Ukraine on Monday, November 30, took place on Ukraine’s Day of Dignity and Freedom, November 21.
The deputies performed the anthem at the session hall at the initiative of their territorial community chair.
“The materials are now being carefully checked. Following the inspection, appropriate response measures will be taken,” the SBU says.
At the same time, chairman of the Siurte rural united territorial community, Arpad Pushkar, has denounced the video in question as provocation on the part of his political rivals who lost the latest local election.
In a comment to an UNIAN correspondent, Pushkar said the Ukrainian anthem was sung first during the pledge of allegiance ceremony, of which the community has the relevant video proof, therefore publishing a doctored video with the Hungarian anthem being sung by deputies was a mere manipulation.
“I, as chairman, and all the newly elected deputies who attended took the oath, and everyone read it out in Ukrainian. Also, deputies and citizens present in the hall sang the anthem of Ukraine, and only after that did they sing the anthem of Hungary,” Pushkar said.
Seventeen of 22 local deputies represent the Hungarian national minority, he added, and this is why they decided to sing the Hungarian anthem, the community chair explains.
“We consider the publication of such a video a provocation,” Puhskar stressed, adding that the authors “seek to spark an interethnic conflict.”
“I don’t know who would benefit off of it because we’ve always lived in peace,” said the community chief.
Pushkar also noted that all resolutions signed during the session, both before (he was re-elected as chairman) and now, are drafted in Ukrainian. The meetings are usually held in Ukrainian or in a bilingual format so that everyone can understand the agenda clearly.
On Monday, a video was posted on the local Facebook community covering Zakarpattia news where the deputies of the Siurte territorial community were seen singing the national anthem of Hungary, allegedly during the pledge of allegiance ceremony.
On November 30, the SBU conducted a number of raids in Zakarpattia, targeting among others the chair of the Party of Hungarians of Ukraine(KMKS), Vasyl Brenzovych.
Detectives are investigating the allegedly fictitious contracts concluded by Hungarian charitable foundations. According to security officials, some of the investigated actions could be to the detriment of Ukraine’s national security, including the country’s state sovereignty.
Earlier, the observers with the Civil Network OPORA reported that Hungarian officials had campaigned for “KMKS” Ukrajnai Magyar Party (the Party of Hungarians of Ukraine) while visiting Zakarpattia region during local elections.
Subsequently, Ukraine put two Hungarian officials on the stoplist.
The commissioner of the Government of Hungary for cooperation between Hungary’s Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg County and the Zakarpattia region, Mr. Istvan Grezsa, on November 24 was refused entry into Ukraine due to the existing ban.
Following the SBU searches on Monday, Hungarian authorities summoned the Ukrainian ambassador in Budapest, while foreign minister Peter Szijjarto referred to the raids as an “incomprehensible political swing regarding Hungarian parties.”
Earlier, Hungary had been blocking Ukraine’s advance toward stronger cooperation with NATO over the contested issues around the language clause of the education law.