13 Nov 2017 18:05

Hungarian flag incident in Berehove is attempt to pit two nations against each other - Zakarpattia state administration head

KYIV. Nov 13 (Interfax) - Political forces which staged a Hungarian flag-burning provocation in Berehove in Ukraine's Zakarpattia region have no support in the region and most demonstrators had come from neighboring regions, Hennadiy Moskal, head of the Zakarpattia regional state administration, said.

Earlier media reports said that on November 12 around 50 activists from the nationalist party Svoboda (Freedom) in Berehove removed a Hungarian flag from the town council building and tried to set it on fire. The attempt was foiled by the police, who seized the flag and restored it to its place.

"While on the central level Ukraine is doing everything to find common ground with Hungary and iron out misunderstandings over the education law, a handful of fringe types, with their provocative behavior, are trying to sow discord between our two nations," Moskal was quoted by his press service as saying on Monday.

"I hereby responsibly declare that the political forces organizing this provocation, have not the slightest support, none at all, in Zakarpattia (as was shown by the results of local elections in October 2015). This is exactly why most of the 'fire-show' participants were bussed in to Berehove from neighboring regions, primarily the Lviv region," Moskal said.

This action caused "outrage among locals and enmity towards natives of neighboring regions," he said.

"Xenophobic rallies involving people with masked faces, disguised by patriotic slogans, are unacceptable in Ukraine, especially in multiethnic regions, Zakarpattia being one of them," Moskal said.

He said that he was "totally puzzled by the position of the police, which watched the provocation in Berehove passively." "Its inaction should be assessed by the Interior Ministry leadership, to which a relevant complaint has already been sent," Moskal said.