MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the ITV broadcaster, twelve boats with refugees had already arrived on Sunday on shoreline of the Greek island of Lesbos despite the threat of being returned to Turkey.
Earlier in March, Brussels and Ankara struck a deal, which will see all migrants arriving illegally from Turkey to Greece starting from March 20 returned back. In exchange, the EU will resettle thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey.
According to the broadcaster, the agreement is expected to take effect from April 4.
Europe has been beset by a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty. Many of them take the West Balkan route, which crosses Greece, using the county as an entry point into the bloc from which they travel onward to wealthier EU states where they intend to apply for asylum.
The situation with refugees in Greece has worsened after a number of Balkan states, including Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, erected border fences and toughened their entry criteria.