Latvia decided to reimpose compulsory military service
The plan is to gradually introduce this new system within five years, starting with the first phase of implementation from next January, according to the Latvian newspaper Diena, quoted by the Europa Press agency, and the AFP agency.
Thus, throughout the first year up to a thousand people could be recruited in two batches, the first in January and the second in the month of July.
Pabriks also announced plans to build another military base near the southeastern city of Jekabpils, located near the Russian border.
Latvia is moving towards the reimposition of compulsory military service, which it had eliminated in 2007, in the face of possible tensions with Russia.
The training will last 11 months and will be for men between 18 and 27 years old, and women will be able to perform military service on a voluntary basis.
The announcement was made by Defense Minister Artis Pabriks, who remarked that “the current military system of Latvia has reached its limit” and considered that “there is no reason to think that Russia will change its behavior.”
Latvia had abolished the service after joining NATO and since 2007 its armed forces are made up of career soldiers and National Guard volunteers.
With less than two million inhabitants and bordering Belarus and Russia, Latvia currently has 7,500 active soldiers and members of the National Guard, backed by 1,500 NATO soldiers.
Pabriks said conscription will gradually take effect next year, with several possible options to meet the requirement.
Citizens claimed by the Army may choose between joining the defense service, the National Guard, taking a platoon commander course or an alternative service.