NEW: Hungary says Croatia sent train with 1,000 migrants across border illegally
Hungarian official accused Croatia of lying, violating EU regulations
Hungarian border town mayor posts online video with warning to migrants
Hungary lashed out at neighboring Croatia on Friday, saying Croatia is helping migrants and refugees from the Mideast cross borders illegally.
Hungarian officials were inflamed when Croatia sent a train carrying 1,000 migrants and 40 Croatian police officers across the border without permission, Hungary government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said.
The train went to a railway station six kilometers inside Hungary, where the train was seized and the Croatian police officers were disarmed, Kovacs said.
“This is a violation of the international law and this act is considered completely illegal,” Kovacs said.
Kovacs said the police officers were sent back to their country and the train driver was held in custody. Hungary will take care of the migrants and provide them shelter, food, medical assistance, he said.
With razor wire and militarized borders, tear gas and water cannons, Hungary has gotten a reputation as one of the most heavy-handed – some say cruel – European countries dealing with the ongoing influx of migrants and refugees.
But Kovacs, in an impromptu press conference at the border, defended his country’s tactics over the past nine months and insisted it would follow European Union protocols – without specifying what those protocols require.
The Croatian government’s immigration strategy, meanwhile, “collapsed within one day,” according to Kovacs. And on Twitter, the spokesman accused Croatia of lying and breaking “all relating EU regulations.”
He was referring to Croatia’s openness earlier this week to migrants, with security forces even helping what started as a trickle and then became a steady stream of migrants cross its borders. But things changed Thursday, when the country closed seven of its border crossings with Serbia.
Croatian police said Friday that more than 14,000 migrants had crossed in since the country opened its borders. But the U.N. refugee agency said Croatia was only prepared to handle 500 migrants a day.
Also on Friday, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter