Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Monday it had handed the Hungarian ambassador to Kiev a note of protest over what the institution described as “political unrest” by Hungarian officials in favor of a party that contested Sunday’s local elections, Reuters reported.
The ministry said in a statement that Hungarian officials had urged Ukrainians living in the region bordering Hungary to vote for the Hungarian Party, a violation of Ukrainian law.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs promptly urged the Hungarian side to comply with Ukrainian law and not to take actions that directly interfere with Ukraine’s internal affairs and do not correspond to the good neighborly nature of Ukrainian-Hungarian relations,” the statement said.
Later Monday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Russia’s Interfax news agency that Ukraine had banned two Hungarian officials from entering its territory because of the incident.
Ukraine’s decision to ban the entry of two Hungarian government officials into its territory because of alleged interference in local elections is “pathetic and meaningless,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Tuesday.
In a video message posted on his Facebook page, Szijjarto said that Budapest has not yet received an official notification about the ban decided by Ukraine.
Ukraine on Sunday elected its mayors, municipal and regional councils for the first time since Volodymyr Zelensky came to power. The counting of the ballots would take several days, after a new electoral law made the procedure very complicated.
According to the results of the exit from the polls, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenski suffered a defeat in the local elections, his party being ahead in most of the big cities. His party, the Servant of the People, ranked first on city councils in only two major cities in the center, and in seven others most often ranked third.