The Ukrainian soldier beheaded by Russians in March was of Hungarian ethnicity, news portal Mandiner reports.
Before the war, Sergy Pataki lived with his family in the village of Nagyszőlős (Vinogradov), which has a sizeable Hungarian minority.
The 30-year-old man was captured in March and beheaded by Russian fighters, who recorded the killing on his confiscated phone. Pataki worked in the local market selling fruit and vegetables before the war broke out.
The man was conscripted shortly afterward and sent to Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, a thousand kilometers from his home. Vyacheslav Kus, a representative of the municipality of Nagyszőlős, told Hungarian news portal Telex about the execution of Pataki.
“They took his phone and taped what they did to him for everyone to see,” said Nagyszőlős.
He has been serving in the most dangerous sector of Russia’s war against Ukraine, in Bakhmut, which has been besieged by Russian forces since July and has involved intense house-to-house street fighting. The peacetime settlement of 70,000 civilians is still home to 4,000 civilians and is increasingly being compared by experts to the World War I bloodbath at Verdun because of the heavy military losses suffered by both sides.
Pataki died back in March, and his death was reported without further details; a since-deleted video of his execution first appeared on Twitter on April 11. The next day, the Ukrainian military confirmed that the victim was a captured Ukrainian soldier, who was not named at the time.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has long pushed for peace between Ukraine and Russia, arguing that it has cost Europe tremendously, both economically and socially. However, he has stressed that saving lives is the paramount reason behind ending the war and has pointed out that hundreds of ethnic Hungarians have died in the conflict after being conscripted into the Ukrainian army.
“We have to stay out of the war in any case, partly because there are many Hungarians in our neighborhood, and partly because war is always bad. People are dying every day, hundreds of Hungarians have already died in this war, conscripted into the Ukrainian army; we are dealing with a war that is taking place in our neighborhood and has seen only casualties so far,” said Orbán in a speech earlier this year.