The number of irregular border crossings into the European Union increased by 64 percent last year compared to 2021 to reach the highest level since 2016, the EU's border agency has said.
Around 330,000 unofficial crossings were detected, 45 percent of them through the Western Balkans, Frontex said in a statement Friday.
"This was the second year in a row with a steep rise in the number of irregular entries."
Afghans, Syrians and Tunisians accounted for 47 percent of the irregular crossings last year, according to the agency, with the number of Syrians roughly doubling to 94,000.
Year of 'unprecedented challenges'
The central Mediterranean route accounted for the second-highest number of crossings, which rose by more than half to over 100,000.
The agency said women accounted for fewer than one in 10 of the crossings, while the share of reported minors fell to around 9 percent of all irregular entries.
The war in Ukraine exploded the number of refugees arriving in the European Union, according to the agency.
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