On Monday, the country’s Ministry of Defense announced that compulsory conscription will be implemented for all Latvian male citizens between the ages of 18 and 27.
Over the next five years, all male citizens in this age group will “have to choose one of four types of military service: state defense service, the National Guard, a college course for department commander or alternative services in the Ministry of Interior, health or welfare,” the ministry said in a statement. press release.
The ministry said that female citizens in this age group will have “the same opportunities on a voluntary basis.”
Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said: “The Latvian population must realize that in order to survive, we must simply increase the proportion of the population that has received military training and is ready to take part in combat. This would reduce the risk of Russia attacking Latvia at will.” .
“The year 2014 made us focus more on the rearmament of our armed forces units and their combat readiness. These goals have been successfully achieved,” Pabrix added.
In 2014 Russia invaded and Annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.
“However, the security ramifications of the Russia-Ukrainian war have led to many new challenges,” Pabrix said. “To overcome it, we need to enhance our combat capabilities and develop the army’s reserve.”
“It has become clear that we have exhausted the capabilities of the National Guard volunteer service and professional service, while the additional increase in the number of military personnel is associated with excessive risks,” the defense minister said.
“That is why we need to focus on increasing the number of Latvians who are able to join the defense forces in the event of a military conflict,” he added.
As part of the first phase of the project, the Latvian Ministry of Defense will offer voluntary military training to Latvian citizens between the ages of 18 and 27, starting in January 2023.
Recruitment will take place in two phases, in January and July.
The department estimates that during the first year, the State Defense Service will attract about 1,000 new soldiers (500 at each recruiting stage).
They will be required to work for one year, including one month of vacation.
The ministry said the new recruits will undergo a three-month basic training and a three-month specialized course, while the remaining months will be devoted to “integration into units and group training”.
“All recruits will be socially protected. According to the plans, each new soldier will receive a monthly stipend of up to 400 euros, free food and housing in the army barracks,” the ministry said.
Over the next five years, the ministry plans to increase the proportion of the combat-ready population in the national armed forces to 50,000 soldiers.
“Of them, 14,000 soldiers will form active service units, while 16,000 will join the National Guard and 20,000 will form the reserve force,” the ministry said.