The Zahony border crossing - Photo: Youtube

Retvari: Citizens of third countries in Ukraine cannot enter Hungary without documents

Foreign nationals are required to hold valid travel documents to enter Hungary from Ukraine, a state secretary of the interior ministry told a press conference on Friday.

Bence Retvari said the Hungarian practice, introduced on February 3, followed that of Poland and Slovakia, adding that since the start of the war in Ukraine there had been a significant increase in the number of third country citizens that “went to Ukraine, than pretended to be fleeing from war and enter the European Union”. He noted that Hungary had accommodated all people fleeing from Ukraine including non-Ukrainians working or studying in that country. But “illegal migrants tried to find a way to cross the [Hungary-Ukraine] border using the war as an excuse,” he said.

According to Retvari, 11 times as many citizens of “countries posing a migration risk” crossed into Hungary from Ukraine in 2022 as in the previous year. The number increased from 2,246 in 2021 to 24,988 in 2022, he added. People in that group had come from Morocco, India, and Nigeria, Retvari said.

Gyorgy Bakondi, the prime minister’s internal security advisor, said 1,061,765 people had crossed into Hungary from Ukraine since the start of the war. Along Hungary’s southern border with Serbia a total 958,847 illegal entrants have been apprehended since 2015, while legal proceedings were initiated against 5,656 people smugglers, Bakondi said. Since the beginning of this year, 13,297 migrants and 144 people smugglers have been apprehended, he added.

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