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Ukraine's education rules: Hungary attacks "disgraceful" language law

HUNGARY slammed neighbouring Ukraine’s new education law yesterday that “drastically” limits children’s rights to study in their first language.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that he was appealing to the UN, EU and other international bodies to try to prevent the law from taking effect.

“We consider the new education law approved by the Ukrainian parliament to be shameful and disgraceful,” he said.

“This law — in a manner incompatible with European values and laws — drastically limits the access of minorities, including the Hungarian community, to education in the mother tongue.”

Mr Szijjarto added that the new rules make it “practically impossible” for ethnic minorities to study in their own language beyond Year 5.

There are some 150,000 ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine, along with a similar number of Poles, 400,000 Romanian speakers and millions of ethnic Russians.

The US embassy in Kiev welcomed the new law but Poland and Romania expressed concerns. Opposition parties voted against the Bill.

Since the fascist-backed 2014 Maidan Square coup, minority languages have come under attack, as they did following the 2005 “orange revolution.”

Meanwhile yesterday, President Petro Poroshenko criticised his ex-pal the former Georgian president and Odessa provincial governor Mikheil Saakashvili for forcing his way across the border from Poland on Sunday night with a mob of hundreds of supporters.

Mr Saakashvili vowed to return after Mr Poroshenko stripped him of citizenship in July while he was in the US.

Mr Saakashvili has also lost citizenship his home country, where he faces jail over for abuse of power and embezzlement. Georgia has requested his extradition.

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