Hungary says Ukrainian prisoners of war handed over to it are free, Kyiv denies

Hungary claims that 11 Ukrainian POWs interned in that country have been released. Kiyv says it has not yet been able to get direct contact with its servicemen.

The 11 Ukrainian POWs were handed over by Russia, they are free, Hungary claims, and can stay in the country or leave it at any time of their choosing, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told CNN in a commentary.

According to him, the release of the prisoners was made possible as a result of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Hungarian Charitable Service of the Order of Malta.

Earlier, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó stressed that the Hungarian authorities were not involved in the negotiations.

Zoltan Kovacs claims that the freed Ukrainians voluntarily went to Hungary. Some, as residents of Zakarpattya, have Hungarian citizenship, while the rest have received refugee status.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that the conditions of the Ukrainian captives in Hungary do not allow us to speak about their free status.

According to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Mykolenko, all attempts by Ukrainian diplomats to establish direct contact with the Ukrainian citizens in recent days have been unsuccessful. They are held in isolation, without access to open sources of information.

“This, as well as the information received from the relatives of some of them, shows that the assurances of the Hungarian authorities about the allegedly free status of Ukrainian defenders in Hungary are not true”, he wrote.

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