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Austria to Send Soldiers to Border With Italy Amid Refugee Crisis

© REUTERS / Dominic EbenbichlerA border sign reading 'Republic of Austria - boarder' is seen in the Italian village of Brenner on the Italian - Austrian boarder
A border sign reading 'Republic of Austria - boarder' is seen in the Italian village of Brenner on the Italian - Austrian boarder - Sputnik International
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Austria intends to send military to the Italian border to boost protection amid the refugee crisis, the country's defense minister said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Austria is planning to send soldiers to the border with Italy to enhance border protection amid a migrant inflow, Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said Saturday.

"As the European Union's external borders are currently not effectively protected, Austria will enforce strict border controls in the near future. This means massive border controls in the Brenner Pass [a mountain pass through the Alps along the Italian-Austrian border], also with soldiers," Doskozil told Die Welt newspaper.

According to the defense minister, there are concerns that migrants will search for alternative routes into the European Union, especially following the EU-Turkey deal that comes into force Monday.

"We expect an increased use of the central Mediterranean route in the coming weeks," he added.

The Mediterranean Sea is one of the main routes for migrants trying to flee armed conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East. The central Mediterranean route leads from Libya to Malta or the Italian and Greek islands.

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