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Hungary nixes NATO statement on Ukraine over minority rights spat

Hungary nixes NATO statement on Ukraine over minority rights spat

Hungary has vetoed a joint NATO statement about Ukraine because it didn’t mention the “deprivation of rights” of the Hungarian minority in the neighboring country.

However, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto rejected criticism that Budapest’s relationship with Russia is too cozy or that Hungary advocates for “pragmatic relations” with Moscow because “we are Russian spies,” AP reported. Such comments are “laughable insults on part of our Western friends,” Szijjarto said.

Hungary says that changes to Ukrainian education and language laws curtail minority rights. PM Viktor Orban’s government is also at odds with Ukraine because it rejects allowing ethnic Hungarians there to hold dual citizenship.

Szijjarto’s comments came before a visit to Budapest on Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.