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Hungary launches armed river patrols to catch swimming migrants

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Hungary launches armed river patrols to catch swimming migrants
Copyright  Euronews   -   Murray, Trent
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Hungary's military has deployed a patrol boat to its river border with Serbia.

The river is a key point of entry for migrants trying to reach the EU. The crew of the new vessel will be tasked with monitoring the Serbian shores of the river and intercepting migrants trying to swim across to the Hungarian side.

Speaking to Euronews, Hungary’s Deputy Defence Minister, Szilárd Németh, said his country was struggling with large numbers of people trying to gain access to the European Union.

"If they come in groups, they always have leaders. They have excellent equipment, we found night-vision goggles, and even a ground sensor,” he said.

While swimming across the Tisza River is dangerous at the best of times, Németh said migrants were lumbered with extra equipment for when they make it to the other side.

“Fence cutters, spades, maps, lists of addresses, taxi numbers, they have them all. They are very well prepared to cross the border of Hungary,” he said.

Travelling to other EU countries

Human rights groups say while Hungary is on the frontline, it's often other European countries that migrants are trying to reach.

“If you speak to the migrants here, they will tell you that their relatives are in Austria, their friends are across the border, and so on. And, unfortunately, this encourages them. Communication is very good among them,” said Róbert Lackó, a refugee coordinator in Serbia.

Euronews joined one of the new patrols on the river border. You can see the full story in the player above.