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Latvia President Supports Reinstating Military Conscription | World News



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By JARI TANNER, Related Press

HELSINKI (AP) — Latvia’s president mentioned Tuesday that he helps a plan to reinstate nationwide conscription for males, and for girls on a voluntary foundation.

The draft might be reintroduced subsequent 12 months after a hiatus of over 15 years.

President Egils Levits, who’s the supreme army commander of Latvia — a NATO member that borders Russia — mentioned in an interview with Latvian broadcaster TV3 that he favors the concept floated by the Baltic nation’s protection minister final week to create an 11-month obligatory army service for males aged 18-27 from the start of 2023.

“We’ve got actually, actually good, high-level armed forces, skilled armed forces — you may say among the best in NATO,” Levits informed TV3. The conscription, he mentioned, is required as a result of there will not be sufficient reservists with army coaching within the nation of 1.9 million.

Latvia abolished obligatory conscription in 2007, switching to a completely skilled army service. Levits mentioned the largest limitation within the nation’s present skilled army is its small measurement.

“The brand new geopolitical state of affairs … requires a bigger quantity of people that, if mandatory, can take part within the protection of their nation, and who will not be skilled troopers and are reservists,” Levits mentioned, referring to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

He added that “girls also needs to be able to defend their nation” however kept away from saying whether or not feminine conscription ought to turn into obligatory. Levits additionally urged officers and politicians to provide you with methods to get Latvians residing overseas to take part within the protection of their native nation.

Beneath the Latvian protection ministry’s preliminary, unconfirmed plan, some 1,000 conscripts could be recruited yearly in drafts twice a 12 months. The conscription mannequin could be phased in throughout a five-year interval beginning subsequent 12 months.

Latvia’s Baltic neighbor, Lithuania, abolished obligatory conscription in 2008, however reinstated it in 2016 in response to Russia’s aggression of Ukraine. Estonia, the northernmost of the three Baltic states, has maintained conscription, supported by the Estonian Protection League, created after independence in 1991.

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