Hungary Released Ukrainian Pows – Kyiv Outraged


Zsolt Semjén, Hungary’s deputy prime minister, said authorities released the eleven Transcarpathian PoWs Russia handed over on Friday. Kyiv is outraged, they summoned the Hungarian ambassador and want an explanation why they were not informed about Moscow’s PoW transfer.

According to Blikk, the PoWs were transferred to Hungary by the Russian Orthodox Church. They fought against the Russian invasion forces, some of them Hungarians, others Ukrainians, but all from Transcarpathia, a region inhabited by more than 100,000 Hungarians. Semjén said that the transfer of the PoWs was the bid of Hungary and a gesture of the Russian orthodox church towards Budapest. They are no longer prisoners since Hungary set them free after they arrived. “If I were a representative of Ukraine, I would be thankful”, Mr Semjén said.

Ukrainian authorities keep saying that the PoWs will be used in anti-Kyiv propaganda. The Zelensky administration believes they will say they were forced to join the army and received poor support on the front.

Defence minister: security first during wartime

The security of the country and of the Hungarian people is “a priority above all others” in wartime, the defence minister said in a video message posted on Facebook on Saturday, MTI wrote. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said he had been tasked, as defence minister, with ensuring the security of the Hungarian people, stepping up the country’s defence capability and strengthening the Hungarian armed forces. “The government is providing all material support to achieve those endeavours,” he added.

He noted that HUF 842 billion (EUR 2.3 billion) had been earmarked for the Defence Fund in this year’s budget and 1,310 billion forints would be allocated for the fund in next year’s budget. Defence capabilities are on the increase, new weapons systems are arriving and being put into commission, and soldiers are being trained to use them, he added. Hungary’s defence spending is set to exceed Hungary’s NATO commitment of 2 percent of GDP next year as well, he said. Szalay-Bobrovniczky expressed hope for a ceasefire and the start of peace talks as soon as possible, but also said that “peace requires strength”.

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