Hungarian army prepares for border defence

The Hungarian army has started military drills to prepare its soldiers for service at the southern border amid the unfolding refugee crisis, Chief of Staff General Tibor Benko said, according to MTI news agency.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said legislation to deploy the army could not be passed before the end of September, although actions to increase the speed of a border fence should be expected.

“Everyone has to get ready to do intensive work in the coming weeks,” Orban told a Hungarian newspaper, reported AFP news agency.

Soldiers joined by police will be charged with to bringing the border, which is currently crossed daily by thousands of refugees and migrants from Serbia, under control.

The exercise comes amid record numbers of migrants and refugees crossing into the central European country in a bid to enter the EU and declare asylum. Many of them are fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and heading for Germany via Austria.

Hundreds of migrants broke through police lines in Hungary near the Serbian border Wednesday for a third day running, as the army began mobilising.

The break-out involving at least 400 migrants took place near the flashpoint town of Roszke, where migrants have to wait at a collection point before being taken to a nearby centre for registration.

Shouting “No camp!” they scattered in all directions, some heading for a nearby motorway leading to Budapest, which police then temporarily closed down.

Meanwhile, Hungary’s response to the refugee crisis has been criticized by human rights watchdogs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.