Hungary has accused Croatia of committing “a major violation of international law” by trying to transport 1,000 migrants by train across its border,Sky news reports.
Budapest described the unannounced arrival as a “major, major incident” – and alleged 40 police officers accompanying the migrants had to be disarmed and sent back. Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said it showed “the Croatian system for handling migrants and refugees has collapsed, basically in one day”.
“What we see today is a complete failure of the Croatian state to handle migration issues,” he added. “What is more, we see intentional participation in human smuggling, taking these migrants to the Hungarian border.”
The migrants who were on the train are being transferred to a reception camp – and Hungary claims it arrested the driver. Croatian prime minister Zoran Milanovic was defiant on Saturday, claiming Croatia had “forced” Hungary to take the migrants.
“We forced them, by sending people up there. And we’ll keep doing it,” Milanovic told reporters. According to local media, Hungary has now called up military reservists to deal with the “mass migration situation”.
On the Hungary-Austria border at Hegyeshalom, Sky’s Alex Crawford says the country is now on a “virtual war footing”. As well as building fences, it has helicopters scouring the countryside and soldiers in armoured Humvee vehicles.
Thousands of migrants were sent from Croatia to Hungary on Friday after officials said they could not cope with the 17,000 who arrived in just a few days. Sky’s Alex Crawford says busloads of migrants from Hungary are now arriving at the Austrian border.
Around 6,700 have been allowed into Austria since midnight, according to police. In other developments, Slovenian riot police used pepper spray at the Harmica crossing as they clashed with about 500 migrants trying to cross from Croatia.
They say they were forced to act after sticks and bottles were thrown. Limited numbers are being let through – mainly families with children – and authorities say they are placing them in refugee centres.
Most, however, are set on heading north to claim asylum in Germany and Scandinavia. Hundreds of people are also camped by a motorway at Edirne, near Turkey’s border with Greece and Bulgaria, hopeful of joining the migration route into Europe.
EU leaders are holding an urgent meeting on Wednesday to try to find a common strategy on the crisis and ease growing political tensions.