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Military intelligence comments on next reported transfer of Ukrainian POWs to Hungary

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 14, 2023 1:44 PM 2 min read
The Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) spokesperson Andrii Yusov at the Presentation of the First Sociological Study of the Russian Prisoners of War, at the Military Media Center, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 4, 2023. (PPhoto Credit: Kaniuka Ruslan / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is planning another transfer of Ukrainian prisoners of war to Hungary, the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) spokesperson Andrii Yusov told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on July 14, following earlier media reports.

Yusov said that the Ukrainian special services received information on the second hand-over and are now further investigating it.

The plan is reportedly conducted under the auspices of Russian special services, but the ROC is involved as a "mediator" between Russia and Hungary, Yusov said.

RBC Ukraine wrote on July 13 that Hungary and the Russian church are planning yet another transfer of 10-15 Ukrainian captives of Hungarian ethnic origin.

The military intelligence spokesperson confirmed that the prisoners in question should have Hungarian background and be able to speak Hungarian.

Media: Hungary, Russian church plan another Ukrainian POW transfer
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) plans to facilitate another transfer of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POW) to Hungary, RBC Ukraine reported on July 13, citing sources in Ukrainian security services.

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

The ROC previously handed over 11 Ukrainian POWs of Hungarian origin to Budapest in early June. Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén later confirmed the transfer but Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó denied Budapest's involvement in organizing the hand-over.

On June 19, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry demanded immediate consular access to the POWs held in Hungary. According to the ministry, they were kept in isolation without access to open sources of information and were unable to communicate with relatives without "third parties" presence.

However, Szijjártó responded that the Ukrainian POWs "can move freely in Hungary and do whatever they want."

Yusov said that five soldiers have already been returned from the first group. The released captives testified on the pressure exerted against them by Russian special services, the military intelligence spokesperson said.

Ukraine still does not have access to the remaining prisoners in Hungary, he added.

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