Croatia Closes Border Crossings With Serbia After Refugee Influx

Croatia closed seven of its eight land border crossings with Serbia on Thursday as it struggled to cope with the surge of refugees attempting to reach northern Europe making their way into the country.

Ranko Ostojic, Croatia's interior minister, told refugees to stay in the surrounding countries of Serbia, Macedonia and Greece instead of entering Croatia. "Don't come here anymore. Stay in refugee centers in Serbia and Macedonia and Greece," he said to reporters. "This is not the road to Europe. Buses can't take you there. It's a lie."

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic put the army on high alert, to protect the country's borders from "illegal immigrants," state news agency Hina reported

After Hungary tightened its border with Serbia on Tuesday, refugees were forced to find alternate routes into the EU, with many making their way to Serbia's border with Croatia instead. Hungary also imposed tougher laws meaning that refugees who enter the country illegally can be deported or imprisoned.

As crowds of refugees attempted to cross the border into Croatia, clashes broke out with Croatian police in the towns of Tovarnik and Bezdan. Some 9,200 refugees have entered the country since Tuesday, according to the BBC.

In an emergency meeting held on Monday, EU ministers failed to agree on a mandatory refugee quota to spread the burden of the crisis and the bloc's leaders will hold another summit next week to discuss solutions to the huge influx of refugees.

On Wednesday, the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the actions of Hungarian riot police, after they fired tear gas and used water cannons against refugees, saying he was "shocked." He said the refugees "were people fleeing war and persecution" and should be "treated with human dignity and human rights."