Russian and separatist media have popularized an article from Nezavisimaya Gazeta entitled “Kiev Creates Professional Army to Resolve Territorial Disputes.”
Its author, Vladimir Gundarov, argues that Hungary and other countries “can get back” present-day Ukrainian territories that once belonged to them by petitioning the International Court of Justice.
The article uses a former border dispute between Romania and Ukraine over Snake Island in the Black Sea as an example of how this might be done. But the reference is both misleading and obscure.
For several years there was a dispute between Romania and Ukraine about the classification of Snake Island – is it a rock or an island? – and the continental shelf around it. In 2009, the International Court of Justice issued its judgement, delineating the territorial limits of the two countries in the Black Sea.
Oddly, Gundarov analyzes the possibility of Hungarian territorial claims, not for Transcarpathia, but for Bukovina, which is largely situated in Chernivtsi Oblast and was once part of Romania.
“Of course, Hungary won’t go to war against Ukraine for Bukovina, but it can take back its ancestral lands through the International Court of Justice with the help of Russia,” Gundarov writes.
It should be noted that a treaty between Ukraine and Hungary that delineates their common border was ratified in 1995 and remains in force. Either country can only challenge the existing borders before the International Court of Justice after the abrogation of the treaty, which seems unlikely.