Serious global security challenges are likely if the war in Ukraine escalates further, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Tuesday in Geneva, where he addressed a meeting of the executive committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Szijjártó said the international community should avoid measures that would escalate tensions and focus instead on peace-making, according to a ministry statement. Europe’s current security challenges, he added, were “unparalleled” since the second world war, and countries in the war’s vicinity like Hungary felt its effects more keenly than countries at a greater distance from it.
He called for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks, adding that the international community should focus on resolving the conflict by diplomatic means. “If everything carries on as it is, we’ll face problems of unimaginable gravity,” the minister said.
Since the start of the year, Hungarian authorities have prevented more than 200,000 illegal border crossing attempts, he said, adding that the intensity of violence on the border had “reached a new level”. The number of refugees and illegal migrants would continue to rise rapidly if the war intensifies, he said, citing a possible worsening global food crisis.
“We’re letting everyone in from Ukraine, but we’re also protecting Hungary and Europe’s security by keeping out aggressive and violent illegal migrants,” he said, adding that Hungary had received 1.5 million refugees so far and provided work, education and health care to those who remained in the country.