All of a sudden, reports about Ukraine’s neighbors holding territorial ambitions over part of its territory have once again started to pop up in the press, in the wake of the failed Summer offensive, of the recapture of the initiative by Russia, and the interruption of major funding from the US and the EU.
But what is fact, what is just rumor and what is pure propaganda?
The first and most grave danger resides, of course, with the Russian Federation territorial ambitions, only partially satiated in the Special Military Operation, so far.
Besides the Crimean peninsula, Moscow has also annexed the Oblasts (regions) of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhie and – partially – Kherson, in a half moon-shaped territorial loss for Kiev equivalent to over 20% of the territory – including all of the Sea of Azov, and most Black Sea coastal areas.
As the war progressed, so did the maximalist Russian objectives that now may include northern Kharkov region and even southern Mykolaiv and Odessa – which would turn Ukraine into a land-locked country.
But, unfortunately for Kiev, Russia is far from the only country with unfulfilled territorial ambitions.
In Romania, the leader of AUR party, Claudiu Târziu, declared that he wants the annexation of some territories from Ukraine.
He would even be prepared Romania to leave NATO for that.
Newsweek Romania reported:
“Claudiu Târziu gave a triumphant speech in Iasi in which he says that he is ready to sacrifice Romania’s membership in NATO, by annexing territories from Ukraine – thus leaving us completely defenseless in the face of Russia’s military desires.”
Claudiu Târziu has also made overtures towards the Russians, assuring that he was ready to ‘join hands with them’, just a few days after the war broke.
“I think there is a need for the thawing of relations between Romania and Russia, I admit the need for a good collaboration between Romania and Russia, I am ready to support this, but only after Russia proves that it also wants all this.”
Târziu sees Romania ‘crushed between two empires’ – NATO and Russia – that violate their sovereignty.
In the very same day that Romanian ambitions came to light, another disturbing development came from Hungary, where another political party revealed plans to annex parts of the present Ukrainian territory.
Rightwing ‘Our Homeland’ party has reignited long-held claims to the Transcarpathia region, home to about 150,000 ethnic Hungarians.
“‘Our Homeland’ leader Laszlo Toroczkai made the remarks at a conference where the party, which has six lawmakers in the 199-strong Hungarian parliament, hosted far-right leaders from Germany’s AfD and the Dutch Forum for Democracy, among others.
‘Regarding the war in Ukraine, our message is very simple: immediate ceasefire, peace and a resolution through talks’, Toroczkai said in a video posted on his party’s website, calling for autonomy for ethnic Hungarians in western Ukraine.
‘If this war ends up with Ukraine losing its statehood, because this is also on the cards, then as the only Hungarian party taking this position, let me signal that we lay claim to Transcarpathia’, he said, drawing applause from the crowd.”
In December, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán ‘expressed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’, but Budapest has clashed non-stop with Kyiv over infringement on the rights of ethnic Hungarians to use their native tongue.
As for Poland’s territorial ambitions, they are well established and not at all invented conspiracies, having to do with territory Poland lost during or after WW2.
TASS reported in October:
“Poland, having reached an agreement with Western countries, is trying to ‘quietly annex’ the western part of Ukraine, head of the Luhansk People’s Republic’s (LPR) mission in Moscow Rodion Miroshnik told TASS on Saturday.
‘Poland is quietly trying to annex Ukraine’s western part. And undoubtedly there is an agreement with the West with regards to this’, he said.
[…] Earlier, the diplomat asserted that Poland had already made plans and certain secret agreements on the future fate of Ukraine’s western part.”
Earlier in April, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service chief Sergey Naryshkin said that, according to the agency’s data, Washington and Warsaw were working on plans of Poland establishing close military and political control over ‘its historic lands’ in Ukraine.
Also in April 2023, Polish Dziennik-Polityczny reported on Volodymyr Zelensky’s official visit to Warsaw that caused many speculations and rumors.
“There was a lot of rhetoric from the podium about friendship and the blurring of borders between our nations.
Zelensky touched on this topic in his speech, saying that in the future there will be no borders between Ukraine and Poland – neither political, economic nor historical.
This may serve as confirmation of our internal information that Ukraine is ready to hand over the Eastern Borderlands to Poland.”