Ethnic Hungarian soldiers were handed over to the government in Budapest
FILE PHOTO: Orthodox priests conduct a service at Resurrection of Christ Cathedral, the main Orthodox cathedral serving the Russian Armed Forces © Sputnik / Anton Denisov
The Russian Orthodox Church has helped arrange for a group of Ukrainian prisoners of war to be sent to Hungary, the Moscow Patriarchate announced on Friday. The captives were all ethnic Hungarians from Ukraine’s Transcarpathia Region.
“A group of Ukrainian prisoners of war of Transcarpathian origin, who participated in the hostilities, was transferred to Hungary,” the church said in a statement. The unusual initiative was undertaken “within the framework of inter-church cooperation, at the request of the Hungarian side,” and with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill.
The head of the church’s external relations department, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, and the patriarch’s adviser, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, were involved in arranging the transfer, “prompted by the motives of Christian philanthropy.”
Russia and Ukraine have exchanged thousands of prisoners over the past year, but this appears to be the first case of Ukrainian servicemen being handed over to another country based on their ethnicity.