Lithuania decides to reintroduce military conscription, amid Russian aggression in the Eastern Ukraine. The decision was made by the State Defence Council, which is comprised of the Lithuanian President, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker, Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence.
Lithuania decides to reintroduce military conscription, amid Russian aggression in the Eastern Ukraine.
The decision was made by the State Defence Council, which is comprised of the Lithuanian President, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker, Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence.
Compulsory military service was suspended in 2008, when Lithuania chose fully professional army.
However, President Dalia Grybauskaitė stresses that geopolitical circumstances have changed, and army must be manned with more efficiency.
Lithuanian military officials say that after Lithuania decided to adopt the professional army, fewer men and women have opted to serve in the army than anticipated. Conscription is expected to help fill up army units and allow the country to better prepare for possible aggression.
Moreover, training and supporting conscripts would cost the state only half of what it takes to train professional forces of a similar size.
Under proposal, compulsory military service would apply to men between age of 19 and 26.
Lithuania plans to call in between 3,000 and 3,500 men, each year. Exemptions would apply to university students, single fathers, men with health issues or persons otherwise unsuitable for military service.
The Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, will have to vote to approve the changes. If the bill is passed, the first shift of servicemen will be called in, as early as this September.
Vs of State Defence Council meeting
DALIA GRYBAUSKAITĖ, President of Lithuania:
Under new geopolitical circumstances, the army must be properly prepared for the country's armed defence, even in times of peace. Today's geopolitical situation requires that we strengthen and speed up the manning of our army. This must be done this year. Therefore the State Defence Council has decided that it is necessary to temporarily, for five years, reintroduce compulsory military draft.
JONAS VYTAUTAS ŽUKAS, Chief of Defence:
At the moment, ten battalions have a fill up with soldiers of only 35 percent. Only two battalions, Algirdas and Birutė, have 54 and 72 percent, respectively; in others it ranges from 13 to 45 percent. Critical shortage of soldiers prevents us from being properly prepared and poses a real threat to the national security.
Recent archive of Lithuanian soldiers training in the fields