UKRAINE’S President Petro Poroshenko sparked a row with his neighbours yesterday after signing a controversial education law that will sideline minority languages.
The law specifies that Ukrainian will be the main language used in schools, rolling back the option for lessons to be taught in other mother tongues.
Russia, Moldova, Hungary and Romania all expressed concern over the Bill when it was drafted, saying that it would infringe the rights of ethnic minorities.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto savaged Mr Poroshenko’s signing of the law as “a shame and a disgrace,” vowing to block Kiev’s efforts to integrate with the EU.
Language has been a politically charged issue in Ukraine, where 30 per cent of those polled in the 2001 census called Russian their mother tongue.
Russian officials have condemned the law, saying that it violates Ukraine’s international obligations.
Romania has cancelled bilateral visits to Ukraine, where there are an estimated 400,000 Romanian speakers.