The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked Budapest for a report on the mental health of Hungarian Parliament Speaker László Kövér, the institution’s spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Twitter.
This came after Kover hypothesized that President Volodymyr Zelensky had “personal mental health problems.”
According to Nikolenko, any subsequent reaction of Kyiv will depend on the assessment in this report.
The escalation between Hungary and Ukraine is another episode of tensions since the start of the war, which has led Prime Minister Viktor Orban to support European sanctions against Russia but is trying to distance himself from good relations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Kövér took the lead from Zelensky’s comments to Hungary or German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, explaining that he did not remember in international politics a leader of a country in need of help “raising his voice against anyone.”
“Usually the one who needs help prays for it politely – persistently, but he prays, not demands and threatens. Usually, the enemies are threatened, not the ones you want to be friends with. There are some personal mental problems.”
– Laszlo Kover, Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament
In recent months, Zelensky has sharply commented on most Western and many Eastern leaders (and his representatives, such as Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, spared no strong words from Bulgarian politicians) over their attitude to Russia’s February 24 conflict with Ukraine.
In some countries, Zelensky’s words sparked controversy and some found them too aggressive, while others said that Europe had not faced such a large-scale invasion of a country since World War II. In Germany, Zelensky’s refusal to accept President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was particularly critical, given his former support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
In Budapest, Prime Minister Orban went so far as to order Zelenski to his enemies on election night. The Ukrainian leader later criticized Hungary for failing to support the EU’s oil embargo on Russia this week.
What ethnic Hungarians want
Kövér said in comments to 444.hu that after the war, ethnic Hungarians may have problems and a minority (mostly in the western part of the country) will have to leave Ukraine. The ethnic community has repeatedly raised tensions between Kyiv and Budapest, and in 2018 a diplomatic scandal erupted over the distribution of Hungarian passports among its representatives.
On this topic, Kövér was answered by Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk, assuring his counterpart that, unlike him, “we in Ukraine, including the Transcarpathian Hungarians, believe that Ukraine will win and recover quickly.”
“Hungary must stop living with past problems, go down to the level of personal insults, and listen to what the Transcarpathian Hungarians want. And this is a weapon with which they can protect their homes from the Russian horde.”
– Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament
Russia is not directly threatening Transcarpathia at the moment, but Stefanchuk’s words are an attack on Budapest, which refuses to supply Kyiv with weapons, arguing that Ukraine should “stay out of the war.”
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