Ukraine summoned Hungarian Chargé d'Affaires in Kyiv over POWs

June 09. 2023. – 11:51 PM



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“The Ukrainian government was not informed about the negotiations between the Hungarian and Russian sides”

- Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko wrote on his Facebook page. He adds that it was first from the media and later from statements by Hungarian politicians that they heard about Hungary having negotiated with Russia about Ukrainian prisoners of war and that the prisoners had been transferred to Hungary.

"We learned from the statements of Hungary's Deputy Prime Minister that Russia had handed over eleven Ukrainians of Hungarian ethnicity to Budapest."

- Nikolenko wrote.

He added that the release of the Ukrainian soldiers was good news, but the fact that Ukraine had not been informed about it was not. Ukraine has therefore summoned the Hungarian Chargé d'Affaires in Ukraine, asking him to provide detailed information about the Ukrainian citizens, to grant access to the Ukrainian consul to help them and to assess their medical condition.

"The need to coordinate interaction on sensitive issues such as the release of prisoners of war was strongly emphasised during the meeting."

- Nikolenko added in his report on the meeting.

The Russian Orthodox Church (RPC) claimed on Thursday that soldiers captured by Russia who had been fighting on the Ukrainian side had been transferred to Hungary. This was later confirmed by Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Church Diplomacy Zsolt Semjén, who said that the Hungarians, who are Ukrainian citizens, were brought to Hungary at the request of the Hungarian authorities.

Semjén stressed that the transfer of the persons concerned was done with the assistance of the RPC, and that this was a "gesture of philanthropic love" towards Hungary. Last year, Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the RPC, who denies the war in Ukraine and has a background as a KGB agent, was removed from the EU's sanctions list against Russia under pressure from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Later on Friday, Semjén reacted to Nikolenko's post in (Hungarian pro-government news website) Mandiner, saying that "the eleven Transcarpathian Hungarians are no longer 'prisoners of war', but free people". Commenting on the fact that Hungary had not consulted Ukraine on the matter, he only said:

“If I were a representative of Ukraine, I would be thankful for this!”

How did Ukrainian POWs get from Russia to Hungary? What is their status? What will be their fate? There are a lot of questions left open in their story, which we answered in this article.

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