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Refugees stream into Hungary amid Russian war on Ukraine

Refugees stream into Hungary amid Russian war on Ukraine

The train from Chop arrived at the picturesque Hungarian town of Záhony about two hours late, owing to traffic congestion. When the train finally arrived at platform one, doctors and station employees greeted and assisted each passenger before gently bringing them inside the station. They all had come from neighboring Ukraine, engulfed in violence since Russia’s invasion started on Thursday. There were children, moms, grandmothers, and two cats among those who had arrived.

Only a desire to continue could be seen; there were no indications of relaxation. People’s bodies had made it to safety, but their minds remained at home, with dads and brothers still fighting on the front lines and elderly relatives who had refused to leave their homes. International students rushed to the phone to inform their families back home that they had safely fled the situation.

Alexandra said that she did not want to leave Dnipro, located in central Ukraine and that she wanted to take up a pistol and protect “the country.” On the other hand, her mother informed her that she was responsible for Anna, her five-year-old daughter, who had traveled to Hungary with a much-loved pink rag doll.

“I awoke on Thursday morning to the sound of an explosion in the distance. As she said to Al Jazeera, “At first, I assumed there was an issue with the metro construction; I couldn’t believe an invasion had started.” As much as I wanted to remain, “I was informed that in wartime, the men must fight, and we must care about those who have been left behind,” she said.

The 37-year-old expressed his distaste for Russian President Vladimir Putin during his interview. “I’m confident he wants all of Europe, and that’s why everyone needs to come together to assist Ukraine,” she said.

Since the 24th of February, more than 85,000 individuals have crossed Hungary. Awaiting refugees at the 135km (84 miles) border are hot tea, freshly cooked sandwiches, and logistical assistance — embassies can be called, flight reservations can be arranged for free, and even children may be entertained.

However, they are insignificant consolation prizes for individuals whose lives have been completely upended in a matter of days. A nagging sensation had plagued natalia that something horrible was about to happen for more than two weeks at this point. In response to the Russian force buildup on the Ukrainian border, the mother of two children from Kyiv claimed she had stated to her daughters that the family should consider fleeing the country; the suggestion was received with blank stares and silence, she added.

However, the scope of Russia’s attack against Ukraine was mainly unforeseen, and people were compelled to flee their homes in a short period. On Friday, the three ladies said their last goodbyes to their father, who had remained in Kyiv to assist in the war effort.

Like Alexandra, the family, who only wanted to be identified by their first names, is now on the way to Spain, where all three of them are fluent in the Spanish language. Alexandra had intended to spend the war’s last months in Budapest with a friend and then return to London as soon as the chance presented itself.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 670,000 individuals have left Ukraine in the last six days. If the Russian offensive continues, the UN refugee agency has warned that “the situation seems to be on the verge of becoming Europe’s greatest refugee catastrophe this century.” People have waited up to 60 hours in frigid weather to pass the Polish border. Still, Hungary’s border crossings have been far calmer compared to the Polish border situation.

Hours after Russia launched its first strike on Ukrainian territory, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced a reversal of Budapest’s strict immigration restrictions.

A statement from the president added, “We’re prepared to take care of them [Ukrainians], and we’ll be able to rise to the task promptly and effectively.”

As early as February 22nd, Hungarian soldiers were sent to the border to fortify the region and conduct “humanitarian chores.” On Monday, the country’s Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó, declared that it would not allow deadly assistance to traverse its borders on its way to Ukrainian troops, despite the country’s open-door policy and support for sanctions against Russia.

Maria, a 19-year-old Ukrainian from the central Ukrainian city of Kropyvnytskyi, said she was anxious about her parents as she waited in silence for friends from Sweden to pick her up at Záhony station. Nonetheless, in Ukraine, the pair, both physicians, will begin working with the injured shortly.

While she acknowledged that she had not anticipated such a show of solidarity from Ukrainians, she said that when one is under assault, “all of one’s little problems become inconsequential.” “Even President Zelenskyy was someone I didn’t much like for. However, after seeing his behavior and the fact that he is still in Kyiv, I am proud of him.”

She intended to go on a city vacation with a group of friends on February 23rd, one of the first she had planned since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic began over two years ago. The gang was looking forward to savoring delectable cuisine and delectable wines. Instead, war broke out over the weekend, and Maria was forced to bid farewell to her parents, not knowing whether she would ever see them again.

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