Austria Ready To Deploy Soldiers To Stop Migrant Influx

REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Austria will deploy soldiers to its border with Italy if the migrant influx from the Mediterranean sea doesn’t slow down, the country’s defense minister said Monday.

Four armored vehicles have already been sent to the area and 750 soldiers are on standby, according to Krone Zeitung. Some 85,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far in 2017, which has made Austria consider border checks.

“I expect that very soon border controls will be activated and that an assistance deployment [by the military] will be requested,” Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil told Krone.

Austria put up border checks on the Hungarian border in 2015 when migrants pursued a different route to Europe.

The situation in the Mediterranean has worsened during the summer, and Italy has threatened to close its ports if other countries don’t offer support. (RELATED: Italy Threatens To Close Its Ports As Migrant Situation Spirals Out Of Control)

“Italy has reached saturation point,” an unnamed government source told Reuters Thursday. “The idea of blocking humanitarian ships flying foreign flags from returning to Italian ports has been discussed.”

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