The war in Ukraine has had a direct impact on neighbouring countries, including EU and NATO members like Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. While most Ukrainian refugees have sought shelter in Poland, a Slavic sister nation, Hungary is the preferred destination for Transcarpathian Ukrainians as well as the Hungarian minority.
According to data disclosed on Tuesday, close to 400,000 refugees arrived in Poland since the war broke out, and around 100,000 refugees have found shelter in Hungary. And the tiny country of Moldova, outside of the EU, also received 60,000 Ukrainians so far.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán underlined, “We take care of everyone. War refugees are welcomed by friends in Hungary.” Orbán repeatedly visited the Ukrainian–Hungarian border the last few days to assess the situation and to organize aid to be provided by the state.
The police, the border police, the disaster response authority, and the military are performing the respective Hungarian operations in cooperation. All asylum seekers are allowed to cross the Hungarian–Ukrainian border, and assistance points are also opened where refugees who came to Hungary will receive additional help.
In addition to the state organizations, Hungarian society was also quick to respond: in a more than 100,000-strong Facebook group, Hungarians offering help exchanged messages with Ukrainians and Transcarpathian Hungarians seeking shelter. Thousands are compiling aid packages, and many of them take those to the border by themselves to offer help on the spot, or to provide transportation to Budapest or other cities. Hungarians are offering their apartments and houses en masse to the refugees.
According to the Hungarian government’s forecast, up to 600,000 additional Ukrainian refugees may arrive in Hungary in the next few days.