Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán came under pressure to apologise after posting a video of himself at a football match wearing a scarf that depicted historical Hungary, including parts of Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said on Tuesday Kyiv would summon Hungary’s ambassador “who will be informed of the unacceptability of Viktor Orbán’s act”.
“The promotion of revisionism ideas in Hungary does not contribute to the development of Ukrainian-Hungarian relations and does not comply with the principles of European policy,” Nikolenko wrote on Facebook. “We are waiting for an official apology from the Hungarian side and a refutation of the encroachments on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
Ukrainian media showed images of Orbán meeting a Hungarian footballer wearing a scarf which the outlet Ukrainska Pravda reported depicted a map of “Greater Hungary” including territory that is now part of the neighbouring states of Ukraine, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Croatia and Serbia.
Romania’s foreign ministry also responded angrily, saying it had submitted to the Hungarian ambassador in Bucharest its “firm disapproval of the gesture.
“Any revisionist manifestation, no matter what form it takes, is unacceptable, against current realities and common commitments,” it said in a statement on Monday.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Orbán did not directly address the controversy over the scarf. “Soccer is not politics. Do not read things into it that are not there,” he wrote. “The Hungarian national team belongs to all Hungarians, wherever they live!”
Orbán has regularly provoked controversies with neighbouring countries by referring to Hungary’s pre-first world war territory.
The two countries have repeatedly clashed in recent years over what Hungary said were curbs on the right of ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine to use their native tongue, especially in education, after Ukraine passed a law in 2017 restricting the use of minority languages in schools.
Around two million ethnic Hungarians live in the neighbouring countries, including 1.2 million in Romania and 150,000 in Ukraine.
With Reuters and Agence France-Presse