President Grybauskaitė: Conscription might remain a necessity

“A well-trained army reserve will remain important for Lithuania even after five years, therefore it might be necessary to extend draft for compulsory initial military service,” the president is quoted by BNS on Thursday.

According to Grybauskaitė, the geopolitical situation in the region has not become any more peaceful. Moreover, she says, experience of other countries shows that relatively small countries are better off with a a mixed army made up of both professional troops and conscripts.

The Lithuanian parliament reintroduced military conscription this year in response to tensions in Eastern Europe. Between 3,000 and 3,500 young men will be drafted for nine-month military service each year for the coming five years. However, some officials, including Palriament Speaker Loreta Graužinienė and army chief Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas have said conscription should stay even after that.

Meanwhile Defence Minister Juozas Olekas has been vague on the issue. He previously advocated a purely professional army.

At the moment the Lithuanian army consists of 8,000 professional troops, 4,500 volunteers and 1,100 draftees as well as a staff of 2,500 civilians. The trained reserve is 2,500 big.

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