After the recent firefight between Right Sector militants and the police in Mukacheve, Ukraine’s neighbors are taking steps to beef up their own security.
Slovaks have strengthened the forces protecting their borders, fearing that armed militants from Ukraine might cross into their country.
The Polish media has reported with alarm that Ukrainian battles are taking place only 60 km. from the nearest Polish village of Ustrzyki Górne, and the press is asking if the Polish government is doing anything to prevent fugitive militants from entering Poland.
Polish officials are silent for now, not wanting to cast their Ukrainian ally in an unfavorable light, despite bombings at police stations in Lviv, only 80 km. from the Polish border. And it is only 90 km. to the Polish town of Przemyśl, where radicals from the Union of Ukrainians in Poland are based, who make no effort to hide their roots in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Ukrainian Insurgent Army, their sympathy for Right Sector, or their wish to turn Przemyśl into a center for Ukrainian nationalism in Poland.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has stated that a flood of refugees should be expected, fleeing events in Ukraine, and the hour may very well be approaching when the Czech army will have to defend the state’s borders from an unchecked influx of migrants.
The Czech police are looking for the owners of cars with Czech license plates that were seen transporting Right Sector militants in the Ukrainian city of Mukacheve, and local Ukrainian nationalists have made threats against prominent Ruthenian figures living in the Czech Republic, so there can be no question that Ukrainian nationalist activists are already present in the Czech Republic.
János Lázár, the head of the Hungarian prime minister’s office, has noted the dramatic deterioration of security in Eastern Europe. He acknowledged that Hungarian intelligence is working in Transcarpathia to protect ethnic Hungarians, against the wishes of the government in Kiev.
After the events in Mukacheve, Ukrainian experts are seriously considering the possibility that the Peoples Republic of Transcarpathia might make an appearance in the region (Gen. Vladimir Ruban, the director of the Center for Prisoner Exchange, has suggested such a scenario), as well as units of Hungarian self-defense forces. The Hungarian self-defense forces were mentioned for the first time in March 2014, when the Party of Hungarians of Ukraine, led by Miklós Kovács, proclaimed its determination to protect Transcarpathian Hungarians from the supporters of Euromaidan. Such measures turned out to be unnecessary at the time, but the risk still exists. Ukrainian «Nazis» regularly threaten Hungarians. The most recent example was the vow made by Carpathian Sich militants to kill Hungarian politicians for their «anti-Ukrainian activities.»
István Szávay, the deputy leader of Jobbik, the most influential opposition party in the Hungarian parliament, urged Europe to wake up. He pointed out that Mukacheve (known in Hungarian as Munkács) is only a short hop from Berehove (Beregszász in Hungarian), which is the center of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia. And since the civil war in Ukraine is no longer just a theoretical threat to Hungary, Budapest must act to protect Transcarpathian Hungarians from the despotism of Ukrainian extremists. The blame for the bloody chaos in Ukraine Jobbik places at the feet of the EU and the United States.
Ukrainian nationalist organizations are obviously a direct threat not only to Ukraine’s immediate neighbors (Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland) but also to Europe as a whole. One member of Right Sector who was killed in Mukacheve was a member of the Ukrainian diaspora living in Portugal. The Union of Ukrainians in Portugal offered their condolences on his death and announced a formal memorial service in the Greek Catholic Church in Lisbon.
Taking into account the influence that the nationalists wield among the Ukrainian diaspora in Europe, it is only a matter of time before Ukrainians living abroad are further radicalized. At the moment we know that at least a few Ukrainian nationalists were killed in the Donbass who had come from the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Poland to fight.
Europe has faced a similar phenomenon before, when the Washington-backed Albanian extremists took their fighting experience and emigrated by the thousands to Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Germany, Greece, and Hungary, bringing with them a radical outlook, huge stockpiles of weapons, and a readiness to engage in any criminal activity. Things reached the point that the Hungarian government announced their intention to erect a wall on the border with Serbia, in order to prevent an influx of illegal migrants.
Ukraine is already being called the «Kosovo of Eastern Europe», and, like the Albanians who preceded them, Ukrainians could become another headache for Europe. The Europeans have no wish to see Islamism and Ukrainian nationalism comingling within their borders, so European countries will take measures to tighten immigration restrictions on citizens of Ukraine.
The first signs are already visible. The Western press has finally begun openly referring to Ukrainian nationalist organizations as «fascists.» And there will certainly be more to come.