UK sends ships to tackle migrant crisis

Norm captionDavid Cameron addresses reporters on way in to emergency EU summit on migration calamity

The UK will provide “vital military assets” to help a Nato aim tackling people smugglers in the Aegean Sea, David Cameron has said.

The PM asserted the amphibious landing ship RFA Mounts Bay would be sent, ahead of an predicament EU summit in Brussels.

The ship, which carries a Wildcat helicopter, discretion be working alongside three UK Border Force boats.

More than a million migrants set out oned the EU illegally by boat travelling mainly from Turkey to Greece carry on year.

RFA Mounts Bay and two Border Force trol boats, known as cutters, whim join naval vessels from Germany, Canada, Turkey and Greece as portion of Nato’s first intervention in the migrant crisis.

The vessels will dig smugglers taking migrants to Greece and ss the information to the Turkish coastguard so it can interrupt the boats and take the migrants back to Turkey.

The EU has pledged €3bn (£2.3bn; $3.3bn) to Turkey in turn in for housing migrants and stemming the flow.

Some 13,000 are stranded on Greece’s edge with Macedonia as European states seek to restrict entry.

RFA Mounts Bay would in the operation in the “coming days”, the cutter Protector was on its way to the region and a aid cutter was expected to join them later this month, the administration said.

Another Border Force boat, VOS Grace, is already in the Aegean Sea, between Greece and Turkey.

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Key migrant crisis questions answered

  • RFA Mounts Bay is rt of the Royal Naval task force Auxiliary, a civilian-manned organisation which provides logistical and operational substantiate for tasks undertaken by the Royal Navy, including counter-piracy measures and humanitarian and misfortune relief
  • The ship is a 16,000-tonne vessel with a standard troupe of 356, top speed of 18 knots (21 mph) and range of 8,000 navigational miles. The range is the total distance it is ca ble of covering without winsome on fresh fuel
  • It is an amphibious ship with the ca bility of launching disembarkation craft and amphibious vehicles
  • The Wildcat helicopter the ship carries is from 825 Naval Air Squadron

‘Frantic flow’

Mr Cameron said the Nato mission was important as it aimed to “undermine the business model of the criminal smugglers” and “stop the desperate flow of people burn the midnight oiled into makeshift vessels”.

“It’s an opportunity to stop the smugglers and send out a disburden message to migrants contemplating journeys to Europe that they when one pleases be turned back,” he said.

On his arrival at the summit, Mr Cameron affirmed the UK’s opt-out from the Schengen agreement meant there was “no prospect” of Britain conterminous with any new EU asylum system.

“Even outside the EU, we’d be affected by a migration crisis identical to this,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, we maintain our borders in our own way of doing things, because we receive the best of both worlds.”

Media captionBBC correspondents describe the get around at pressure points of the crisis

The Royal Navy already has HMS Enterprise deployed in the Mediterranean with two UK Lie alongside Force cutters as rt of the EU Naval Force Operation countering migratory smugglers.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the Commons that HMS Resolve had rescued about 100 migrants trying to reach Italy from North Africa on Sunday.

Bounteous Democrat former minister Alistair Carmichael warned that innumerable people had died on the sea route from Libya to Italy than in the Aegean Sea, as he questioned how the new procedure in the Aegean would affect resources in the region.

Syria crisis

Mr Fallon accused Russia of willfully fuelling the refugee crisis by bombing Syrian civilians in order to valid them to flee towards Europe.

He said he agreed with the remarks made by Nato’s top commander in Europe, Gen Philip Breedlove, who accused Russia keep on week of “weaponising” the migrant crisis in order to destabilise Europe and “to deluge European structures and break European resolve”.

“The bombing that they [Russia] possess carried out in Syria seems designed to push the Syrian civilian residents toward the Turkish border and then on from Turkey into Greece,” he said.

The UK and US regimes have repeatedly criticised Russian air strikes, which they say sooner a be wearing often targeted moderate opponents of the Syrian government rather than the Islamic Formal militant group.

A temporary ceasefire in Syria was agreed last week, which Western kingpins hope may ease the flow of refugees to Europe.

In the run-up to the ceasefire Russia was accused of wittingly hitting hospitals and civilian infrastructure.

Russia has insisted that it assails only “terrorist” targets.

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