: Lithuanian parliament reinstates permanent conscription amid security fears

17:31 Jun. 16, 2016

Lithuanian parliament reinstates permanent conscription amid security fears

A member of Germany's Army raised the Lithuanian flag on the military vehicle during the Dragoon Ride II exercise, in Kupiskis some 160 km north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania (AP photo)

Majority of citizens welcome the move as Baltics face Russian threat

The Seimas of Lithuania, the nation's parliament, voted on June 16 to reintroduce permanent conscription to mandatory military service, which had been suspended in 2008.

Thus, each year between 3,500 and 4,000 men aged 19 to 26 are to be enlisted in the military for nine months. Authorities hope that the majority of them would be volunteers.

Earlier the Lithuanian leaders, including President Dalia Grybauskaite and Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, explained the reinstatement of conscription by the need to "enhance and accelerate army recruitment" given "the current geopolitical environment".

Russia's annexation of Crimea, invasion in Donbas, Baltic airspace and maritime incursions, raised fears that Lithuania could be the next target of the Kremlin.

An opinion poll commissioned by the Ministry of Defence found that 68 percent of respondents support the reintroduction of conscription.

Based on reporting by Foreign Policy Research Institute

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