Hungary’s Migration Aid launches outreach to refugees from Ukraine

Hungary is at the centre of an unfolding refugee crisis, following Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Western Ukraine is also home to a community of more than 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, many of whom have close ties through family and friends to Hungary. While compassion always calls us to see beyond linguistic and national boundaries when it comes to responding to the plight of others, there is no doubt that the presence of a historic Hungarian community in Transcarpathia makes this war especially jarring in the eyes of the broader Hungarian public.

Source: Migration Aid/Daily News Hungary

Among the non-profit groups most active in offering assistance to refugees and migrants is Hungary’s Migration Aid. The organization has begun rallying Hungarians to help transport refugees crossing by foot into Hungary, and then offer accommodation for them. Volunteers are already stationed on the Hungarian side of the Ukraine-Hungary border, at key border crossings such as Záhony and Beregsurány. The housing of refugees will prove difficult. Migration Aid noted that as a result of the Orbán regime’s nativist politics over the past years, the country’s capacity to house a large number of refugees has been significantly degraded. Migration Aid is asking Hungarians to open their doors to refugees and to email the organization ( if they can offer temporary housing. Fifty-sixers in Canada and the United States will recall how ordinary citizens in North America contributed to the settlement of Hungarian refugees after the suppression of the 1956 Revolution by the Russians, and did so in the most extraordinary ways — including by opening their homes to strangers from a distant land.

The transportation of refugees arriving on foot from Ukraine is also an area where Migration Aid seeks help. Some predatory taxi drivers have appeared on the scene and are charging vulnerable people exorbitant amounts of money to take them to Budapest or other cities in Hungary. Migration Aid seeks Hungarians to make available mini-vans and mini-buses that would allow the organization to transport seven to nine people at the same time, and free of charge. Asylum-seekers would be taken to either Budapest or the local train station. In an outpouring of generosity, many Hungarians with mini-vans have responded to Migration Aid on Facebook, offering to drive to the border and pick up refugees.


Further afield in Canada, the executive of the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada (HSAC) issued the following statement on the invasion of Ukraine:

“As the executive of the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada, we condemn Russia’s military assault on Ukraine, and President Putin’s use of disinformation and historical distortions to justify the attack. We stand with the people of Ukraine, and with all who oppose this war.”

Also in Canada, two demonstrations of solidarity are planned for this weekend in Ottawa. The first is spearheaded by Chaplain Roshene Lawson and it will be a candlelight vigil held in front of the Ukrainian Embassy (310 Somerset Street West, Ottawa) on Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. Ms. Lawson will provide the candles and tapers for all those who choose to attend. Then on Sunday, February 27, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is inviting the general public to a protest in front of the Russian embassy (285 Charlotte Street, Ottawa).



  1. Avatar Göllner András says:

    All I can say is – it’s a good thing the refugees this time around are white Christians. God knows what their chance would have been if they happened to have been dark.skinned or Muslim.

  2. Avatar Dr, FODOR ANDRÁS says:

    Dearest Christopher.
    This is a wonderful article of yours.
    Thank you. This is your real face, Christopher!!! Not Christopher, but Kristóf! Thank you ever so much,
    András (in the name of all your Hungarian copatriots at homes, including our Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán.

  3. The tragedy of this situation is that Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán refuses to condemn President Putin as the aggressor and tries to soften sanctions on Russia while ethnic Hungarians caught in the middle. The 150,000 number is questionable, about a 100,000 thousand Ukrainians have ethnic Hungarian roots from the population of 44 million. Hungarian spoken mainly in the villages along the Hungarian border, the main language in the area is Russian, few speak Ukrainian…

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