Zsolt Semjen – Photo: MTI

Semjen: Transfer of Transcarpathia POWs to Hungary ‘human and patriotic duty’

Zsolt Semjen, the deputy prime minister for church policy and church diplomacy, has said his help in coordinating the transfer of 11 Transcarpathian prisoners of war to Hungary had been his "human and patriotic duty".

News portal Index cited an announcement by the Russian Orthodox Church that a group of Ukrainian prisoners of war from the western Transcarpathia region had been transferred to Hungary at Budapest’s request and “with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill”.

Semjen told news portal atv.hu on Friday that the transfer was “a gesture by the Russian Orthodox Church towards Hungary”, to which the prisoners had owed their freedom.

“This is my human and patriotic duty,” the deputy PM said.

Atv.hu said it understands that the transfer had been coordinated by Semjen and was in line with Pope Francis’s mission to facilitate prisoner exchanges. The website said its sources had confirmed that the transfer had been organised by the churches.

The Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta was also involved in the transfer.

The charity told MTI on Friday that it had received a request to help save lives. The organisation said that as in the last three decades, it had fulfilled the tasks that coincided with its mission, but declined to comment further.

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