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Foreign Ministry: 3 out of 11 Ukrainian POWs transferred to Hungary return home

by Dinara Khalilova June 20, 2023 7:16 PM 1 min read
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Ukraine managed to return three out of 11 Ukrainian prisoners of war that were earlier transferred from Russia to Hungary without Kyiv's agreement, Foreign Ministry's spokesperson reported on June 20.

Ukrainian diplomats and other authorities are working to return the remaining POWs, Oleh Nikolenko said on Facebook, without providing any further details.

Earlier the same day, Hungary's Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó denied his government's involvement in the transfer of POWs, contrary to the Ukrainian military intelligence claims. According to Nikolenko, Hungary's acts can qualify as violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.

On June 8, the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it had handed over to Hungary a group of Ukrainian captives of "Zakarpattia origin" at Budapest's request. Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén later confirmed the transfer.

Ukraine's westernmost Zakarpattia Oblast is home to around 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, including 400 serving in the Ukrainian army.

On June 19, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry demanded immediate consular access to the POWs. According to the ministry, they were kept in isolation, not having access to open sources of information and unable to communicate with relatives without "third parties" presence. However, Szijjártó said the Ukrainian POWs "can move freely in Hungary and do whatever they want."

The European Commission asked the Hungarian government to explain its involvement in the prisoner transfer. Meanwhile, Russian authorities haven't commented on the issue.

Hungary to block sanctions against Russia, EU aid for Ukraine unless Kyiv removes OTP bank from list of ‘international war sponsors.’
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