Despite being the bearer of a Romanian diplomatic passport, RMDSZ (Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania) President Hunor Kelemen was denied entry into Ukraine and additionally slapped with an eighteen-month ban to enter the country, without any explanation from Ukrainian border personnel.
Kelemen was on his way to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of RMDSZ’s sister organization, KMKSZ (Subcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association).
“In these conditions, there is nothing more I can do than to wish happy birthday to the KMKSZ … to its members and supporters in this way and to ensure the Hungarians living in Subcarpathia of our support and solidarity”, Kelemen wrote in a Facebook post about his failed trip.
He added that he notified the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs about the incident and on Monday will ask for clarifications from the Ukrainian Embassy in Bucharest. Even stranger is the fact the two persons accompanying him would have been allowed entry into Ukraine.
UPDATE: Since the publishing of the original article, the incident has evolved into a full-blown diplomatic issue. Ukraine responded with a social media message of Ukrainian Ambassador to Romania Oleksandr Bankov, who wrote that “Mr Kelemen Hunor has been forbidden to enter the territory of Ukraine since 03.11.2017. Since then he has tried to enter Ukraine using a Hungarian passport and has been refused, as proof that the decision of the Ukrainian authorities has been well known to him.”
He admitted that Saturday’s refusal of entry did not give any reason, but said that is common practice in all European states.
In his response – again on Facebook – Kelemen said that he hasn’t visited Ukraine in the past twenty years and he never used a Hungarian passport, asking Bankov to present the documents proving the 2017 ban.
Tamás Menczer, state minister at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told national news agency MTI that Ukraine’s ambassador to Hungary has been summoned to the ministry for Monday, adding that Kelemen’s treatment was “the latest of many unacceptable anti-Hungarian moves (by Ukraine).”