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Ukraine Crisis: Orbán visits refugees near border

Government

MTI/Prime Minister's Press Office/Vivien Cher Benkő

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán visited refugees from the war in Ukraine getting assistance in Hungarian settlements near the border on Thursday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

"Nobody will be left uncared for," Orbán told journalists in Beregsurány. He said refugees who don't have people to stay with are being placed in temporary shelters. Other accommodations have been designated around the country where they will be provided for, if they are forced to stay for a longer period, he added.

Orbán said work among the volunteers is well-coordinated and none of the donations are going to waste.

He noted that the task of helping refugees find work has already started. "We're helping everybody to get the chance to make their own living," he added.

The PM acknowledged that the situation is "easier" for refugees who speak Hungarian than for those who don't and can't yet say whether they will stay in Hungary.

Orbán also addressed the matter of people from third countries evacuated from Ukraine, mostly students, from places such as India, Nigeria, and China. Under agreements with their embassies, Hungary is helping them to return home, he added. 

Fielding questions, Orbán said the upgrade of Hungary's Paks nuclear power plant is proceeding "on schedule". The addition of two more blocks at the plant - in a project led by Russia's Rosatom - is necessary to keep local industry competitive and household utility bills low, he added.

"The government has no reason and no intention to change its earlier plans," he said.

Orbán said his "peace mission" to Moscow in February, along with visits to Russian President Vladimir Putin by the German chancellor and the French president, had created the chance to avoid war, but "that chance never materialized".

Asked what message he would send Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Putin, Orbán said he doesn't need to tell them anything.

"They're big boys and know better what needs to be done than I do," he said. "Hungarians can wish too, and they wish for peace," he added.

Responding to a journalist's remark on the difference in the government's position on people crossing the border now and in 2015, during the migrant crisis, Orbán argued that Hungarians "don't live in the safe and comfortable West" but "in the midst of adversity" and "can tell the difference" between migrants and refugees.

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