Hunor Kelemen, the president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (DAHR) was banned from Ukraine for a year and a half. Kelemen broke the news himself on his social media account, after he was not allowed to enter the country this past weekend.

The president of DAHR was travelling to Uzhhorod/Ungvár with a Romanian diplomatic passport, to participate in the celebrations marking 30 years since the foundation of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia. After waiting for an hour at the Ukrainian border, he was informed that he cannot enter the country, but he was not offered an explanation as to why. “They put a minute before me in Ukrainian and then stamped in my passport that I cannot enter Ukraine until the 13th of October 2020” – related the president of DAHR.

Oleksandr Bankov, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Romania said that the president of DAHR had been banned from entering Ukraine since the 3rd of November 2017, and that the Hungarian politician was aware of the Ukrainian authorities’ decision. According to the Ambassador, since then Hunor Kelemen tried to enter Ukraine using a Hungarian passport, at which time he was also denied entry.

According to the president of DAHR, what the Ukrainian Ambassador is saying, namely that he tried to enter Ukraine with a Hungarian passport, is a falsehood. Kelemen added: “Such a thing is unacceptable, after all, we are talking about two neighbouring countries. I did not travel on a daily basis to Ukraine, I haven’t been there for more than 20 years. I had good reasons for going there this time, but it doesn’t even matter whether I was going as a tourist or for cultural reasons. I find it extremely grave that a Romanian citizen is banned from the country and no explanation is given for doing so.”

On Monday, in a letter addressed to the Ukrainian Embassy, Hunor Kelemen asked for explanations concerning what happened, while also informing several European bodies of the events. The president of DAHR asked the leaders of the European People’s Party to warn president Poroshenko – whose party is an observing member in the EPP and is waiting to be admitted as a full member – that their proceedings “have exceeded all limits”.

Kelemen declared he also expects steps to be taken by the Romanian diplomatic corps. The fact that a member of parliament travelling with a diplomatic passport is given such a treatment by the Ukrainian state without so much as an explanation is untenable – he added.
The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade summoned the Ukrainian Ambassador on Monday and declared the following: “We firmly condemn this latest anti-Hungarian provocation, the decisions of the Ukrainian parliament and the Ukrainian government against Hungarians are unacceptable.”