01:59 GMT19 April 2021
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    German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen urged on Thursday to swiftly begin the implementation of NATO's plan on the protection of refugees in the Aegean Sea.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Earlier in the day, NATO agreed to provide support in assisting with the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe in response to a joint request from Germany, Greece, and Turkey, as well as to tackle smuggling.

    "The aim must be to complicate or even [make] impossible the treacherous business of illegal migrant smuggling. It is critical that we now act quickly," the Tagesschau news service quoted the minister as saying.

    Currently, European countries are struggling to find a solution to the massive migrant crisis it is facing as millions of individuals seek asylum there. Over 1.8 million illegal border crossings were detected by the EU border agency Frontex in 2015.

    Turkey serves as a major route for migrants fleeing crisis-torn countries in the Middle East to enter Europe via Greece before continuing through the Balkans to wealthier European countries, such as Germany.


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