A team of Lithuanian troops are returning on Wednesday from the EU-led operation Sophia aimed at curbing human and arms smuggling activity in the Mediterranean Sea, the Defense Ministry said.
© AP / Scanpix

Lithuania's second vessel boarding team has participated in the operation aboard the German Navy ship FGS Rhein since June. The Lithuanians contributed to destroying boats used for transporting migrants and to rescuing migrants and providing them medical, psychological and other assistance, it said.

The Lithuanian team has been replaced by a group of Slovakian troops.

Lithuania plans to deploy its third vessel boarding team to the Mediterranean next year.

The country has been taking part in Operation Sophia since 2015 and plans to continue contributing troops in 2018 and 2019. Two Lithuanian officers are currently serving with the command of the operation aboard the Italian Navy ship ITS San Giusto and one officer at the Sophia headquarters in Rome.

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