19:30 GMT26 January 2021
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    The Hungarian-Ukrainian border has been known for its use by smugglers flying prohibited goods or illegal immigrants into the EU.

    The Hungarian Air Force was put on alert late Saturday night after detecting a Ukrainian airplane which illegally entered Hungarian airspace, Hungarian media have reported, citing the country's defense ministry.

    According to the Hungarian military, the small plane passed into Hungary at about midnight without making any effort to communicate or coordinate with authorities.

    The Air Force scrambled a pair of Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets to intercept the intruder, which left the country's airspace after making several maneuvers.

    The Hungarian-Ukrainian border is known to have been used to illegally smuggle goods and people into the EU country. In January, a helicopter full of migrants was detained after touching down in Hungary. In February, Hungarian police began rounding up Ukrainians who had illegally acquired Hungarian passports. Hungary's relations with its eastern neighbor deteriorated in 2017 after Kiev introduced an education law prohibiting minorities from studying in their national language beyond the grade school level. The education law scandal has prompted Budapest to undertake efforts to curb Kiev's integration into NATO and the EU.


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