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Hungary opens humanitarian corridor for people fleeing Russian invasion in Ukraine

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Hungary will open a humanitarian corridor for citizens from third-party countries like Iran or India fleeing Ukraine, letting them in without visa and taking them to the nearest airport which is Debrecen, the Hungarian foreign minister said on Friday.

Peter Szijjarto also said in a video posted on his Facebook page that crossing from Ukraine was continuous at five crossing points but cars were queuing for up to 3-5 kilometers on the Ukrainian side.

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Tens of thousands of Ukrainians, mostly women and children, crossed into Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia on Friday as Russian missiles pounded the capital Kyiv and men of fighting age were told to remain.

Many waited for hours in freezing conditions to leave Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion. Read full story

Iryna, 36, and her mother set out from Kyiv on Thursday with her two girls aged 2 and 4, before crossing into Ubla in Slovakia.

“We left my husband there, so he is still there supporting our government,” she said on Friday at a hotel in the border town of Snina. “We pray for Ukraine and I hope everything will be fine,” she said.

In Poland, which has the region's largest Ukrainian community of about 1 million people, authorities said wait times to cross the border ranged from 6-12 hours in some places.

At Medyka in the south of Poland, some 85 km (52 miles) from Lviv in western Ukraine, roads were packed with cars, police directing traffic, and people hugging loved ones after they arrived on the Polish side. An internet map site showed a third of the way congested with heavy traffic.

Ukrainian rules restrict men aged 18-60, who could be conscripted, from crossing the border.

Marta Buach, 30, from Lviv, said her husband was not allowed to cross with her. “In Lviv it is ok but in other cities it is really a catastrophe. Kyiv was shelled, other small cities were shelled, we were hearing bombing everywhere.”

“I think it is only a matter of time for it to be as dangerous as other cities,” she said.

United Nations aid agencies say the war could drive up to five million people to flee abroad. They said fuel, cash and medical supplies were running low in parts of Ukraine. Read full story

Border authorities said 29,000 people had entered Poland from Ukraine on Thursday, and about half had indicated they were fleeing the war. In Romania, more than 10,000 Ukrainians had arrived on Thursday, and nearly 3,000 in Slovakia.

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