01:26 GMT +321 July 2018
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    Migrant families - helped by rescuers - disembark on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing with other migrants and refugees the Aegean Sea from Turkey, on November 25, 2015.

    Bulgaria Extends Army's Powers to Guard Border Amid Refugee Crisis

    © AFP 2018 / Bulent Kilic
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    The Bulgarian parliament approved on Thursday an extension of the army’s powers, authorizing it to assist police in protecting external borders to curb the refugee influx, local media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) The military will be deployed in emergency situations, such as an expected increase in migrant flows starting in the spring, the Dnevnik daily newspaper said.

    Before the amendment, the army was only permitted under Bulgarian law to provide border police with technical and logistic support.

    In response to hundreds of thousands of refugees reaching its territory, Bulgaria built a razor-wire fence along its border with Turkey last year and is expected to erect a new, wider and stronger fence by March.

    Europe has been struggling to handle a major migrant crisis, as hundreds of thousands of people flee conflict-torn areas of North Africa and the Middle East in an effort to find a better life in stable and prosperous European states. The EU border agency Frontex detected over 1.8 million illegal border crossings in 2015, in contrast to some 283,000 in 2014.

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