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January 28, 2023

Romanian-born Ukraine MP decries Bucharest lack of support

The lawmaker also said the current Kiev rule was very nationalistic and took measures to assimilate minority groups.

A Romanian-born lawmaker in the Ukrainian Parliament, Ion Popescu, said in an interview to daily ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ published yesterday that Bucharest authorities do not help the Romanian community in Ukraine. Popescu, who is also a member of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, said President Traian Basescu’s statements of support for the Romanian community are only words and that Romanians in Ukraine have to solve their problems alone.

“Two years ago, Basescu came to Kiev and he was supposed to discuss several issues with Mr. (Ukrainian President Viktor) Yushchenko. We brought up the situation of Romanians in Ukraine, but talks focused on Georgia and support for Georgia in its conflict with Russia. No word was said about Romanians,” he said. Popoescu however voiced hope that the situation would improve.

The Ukrainian lawmaker explained that this is why he and most Romanians in Ukraine support Party of Regions’ presidential runner Viktor Yanukovich, as he and his party are the only ones who denounced the current power’s attempts to assimilate minorities. Popescu said that both Yushchenko and PM Yulia Tymoshenko, who is facing Yanukovich in a presidential runoff this Sunday, were more nationalist in their policies than the Romanian right-wing and have discriminated communities and restricted their access to education in their native tongue, among other things.

The MP added that several minorities’ groups have signed a collaboration deal with Yanukovich and if he wins Sunday’ presidential runoff, he will give minorities more benefits, including access to education and schools in their language and easier access to take part in local elections.

Popescu also voiced hope that ties between Romania and Ukraine will improve, first of all as regards economy. As for recent tensions between the two countries, especially after Romania won a Hague trial for the separation of the Black Sea continental platform, Popescu said Ukraine’s politics has always been led by nationalists “who sought an enemy – either Russia or Romania or Poland.”

When asked whether Romania made mistakes in its relationship with Ukraine, Popescu said the mistakes referred to the people expected to deliver different results in Ukraine. “People thought that the orange (e.n. Orange Revolution) in Kiev was the same with the orange in Bucharest. It’s not true. The Kiev orange is more nationalistic and a liar,” he said.

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