On the second day of her visit to Ukraine, Hungarian President Katalin Novák visited a kindergarten and a school in the village of Zahaltsi near Kiev, which is being rebuilt with Hungarian support. Earlier, she attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial of those who have died in the Russian-Ukrainian war and held talks with the Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights.
Following her visit to Transcarpathia on Wednesday, the President traveled to Kiev. Early on Wednesday morning, she visited the memorial wall of the victims of the war, and the Child Rights Protection Center, where she met with Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.
President Novák laying a wreath at the memorial wall in Kiev. Photo: MTI/Nemes János
Dmytro Lubinets briefed Katalin Novák on the repatriation and rehabilitation of children from the occupied territories who had previously been sent to Russia. The Hungarian Head of State recalled that Hungary is carrying out the largest humanitarian operation in its history, with a special focus on the resettlement of Ukrainian children.
The Ukrainian ombudsman expressed his gratitude to President Novák for all the assistance Hungary has provided to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” he said, adding that Hungary had been among the first to welcome hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees and to provide them with proper care, for which all Hungarians deserve thanks.
Katalin Novák (L) and Dmytro Lubinets. Photo: MTI/Nemes János
During the meeting, the president raised issues related to the language and educational rights of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia. The Ukrainian Ombudsman said that there was no problem in dealing with the Hungarian side, adding that “everyone should take care of the rights of their own citizens.”
Novák then visited settlements around Kiev that were directly affected by the fighting in the first weeks of the war. In the village of Moshchun, the Hungarian President attended a ceremony in memory of Ukrainian soldiers who died in the fighting to defend the capital.
She then visited the town of Bucha, 25 kilometers from Kiev, where dozens of victims were found in mass graves excavated after the Russian withdrawal.
In the garden of the local Orthodox church, a memorial site has been set up, also visited by Novák.
President Novák (R) and Governor of Kiev Oblast Ruslan Kravchenko at the memorial site in Bucha. Photo: MTI/Nemes János
In the early afternoon, the head of state visited the village of Zahaltsi, where the reconstruction of a kindergarten and school building that suffered extensive damage in the fighting, is underway with the support of the Hungarian government and coordinated by the Hungarian Interchurch Aid. Until the works are completed, children are being cared for in a modern kindergarten with a capacity of 50, which opened this spring, also thanks to the aid organization.
President Novák in the kindergarten in Zahaltsi. Photo: MTI/Nemes János
In the afternoon, Novák participated in the third Crimea Platform Summit at the invitation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Hungarian Head of State addressed the session, highlighting that children are the most vulnerable in a war, and their future should not be taken away. In her speech, she also underlined that Zelensky’s recent visit to Transcarpathia was very meaningful, adding that
she very much counts on the President of Ukraine to have very strong friendships with Hungarian nationals and the other members of the society in Transcarpathia as well.
The president also talked about Hungary’s commitment to support all initiatives aimed at reaching peace. She emphasized that regardless of how long it takes to return to peace, Hungary continues to offer humanitarian and educational support as well as training facilities to Ukraine and continues to comply with all of its international obligations.
Novák also had a one-on-one meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky. According to her, they have agreed to set up a direct presidential communication channel, and they will start preparing a new document on the relations between the two countries. They also plan to work together on the case of children affected by the war as a priority, and the presidents hope to achieve progress on the minority rights of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia as soon as possible.
Via MTI, Featured photo via Facebook/Katalin Novák