Hungary offers refuge to Ukrainian asylum-seekers

World

The Beregsurány border crossing point on the Hungarian-Ukrainian border.

Image by Sergiy Palamarchuk / Shutterstock.com

Hungary will offer refuge to Ukrainian asylum-seekers, the National Security Operative Corps decided on Thursday, the Government Information Center (KTK) said.

The National Security Operative Corps, a body established to coordinate government tasks related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, decided that Ukrainian nationals, as well as citizens of other countries lawfully residing in Ukraine, may submit applications for asylum in Hungary, KTK said.

A government decree on the measure was published in the official gazette, Magyar Közlöny, late Thursday.

In a video message on the National Security Operative Corps meeting posted on Facebook, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Hungary will provide humanitarian assistance.

"Hungary must stay out of this military conflict, because for us the most important thing is the security of the Hungarian people, so the deployment of troops or military equipment to Ukraine is out of the question," he said.

"Naturally, we will offer humanitarian assistance," he added.

Orbán said the number of Ukrainian nationals applying for asylum is expected to grow.

"We have prepared for their care and will be able to face this challenge swiftly and effectively," he added.

Update - Hungary border crossings operating 'at full capacity'

Hungary's five border crossings with Ukraine are operating "at full capacity", Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a video message posted on Facebook on Friday.

Szijjártó said lines waiting on the Ukrainian side of the border now extend "3-5 kilometers". 

He said that operating times of border crossings at Lónya and Barabás have been extended and are now open between 6:00 in the morning and 11:00 at night. The other border crossings are operating continuously, he added.

The minister noted that Hungary has acted on requests by a number of countries to open a humanitarian corridor for their citizens leaving Ukraine, among them India, Iran, Ecuador, Israel, Zimbabwe, the Maldives, Mongolia, and Jordan.

He added that legal measures have been taken allowing those people to enter Hungary without a visa and travel to the nearest airport to fly home.

Szijjártó noted that Debrecen, Hungary's second-biggest city, has the closest international airport to the border with Ukraine.

He said border crossing procedures for humanitarian deliveries to Ukraine crossing Hungary will be expedited, at the request of Ukraine.

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