A Latvian Ministry of Defense Spokesman has expanded on last week’s announcement that the nation was shifting back to its pre-2007 policy of mandatory armed services conscription.

“The Latvian society needs to change its thinking and accept that the service in the state army is a matter of honor and duty, as it is, for example, in Finland, not a punishment,” said the Spokesman.

The Spokesman was quoted as saying that the plan was not yet set in stone however it was time for Latvians to completely change their perception of military service.  “We are currently continuing to study Finland’s experience in determining responsibility for deliberately avoiding the national defense service. However, as has already been mentioned, first of all, the Ministry of Defense calls for a principled change of attitude. The service is in the interest of every resident of Latvia,” said the Spokesman.

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The draft, at present, would only apply to men due to “budgetary factors” which would not allow women to also be drafted for armed services duty. Military observers have noted that, primarily due to costs, the Latvian strategy is primarily focused on having a large “reservists” contingent to have on hand in case of conflict. Thus, by having a widely trained and prepared population, Latvia would be able to react quickly, if needed, to defend its territorial integrity.

In signs of growing concern in the region, Romania on Monday announced a new draft project from their Ministry of Defense of how conscription would be implemented in the country should a declaration of war, or mobilization for war, be pronounced by Bucharest.

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Neighboring Estonia has had military conscription in place since the Soviet period, and Lithuania re-instituted mandatory military service in 2016 in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. It is estimated that roughly a quarter of the countries in the world have some sort of mandatory conscription.

 

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