Military Capabilities

Lithuania to reintroduce conscription

25 February 2015
Lithuania is planning to reintroduce conscription as a result of falling relations with Russia. Credit: PA

Key Points

  • The Lithuanian State Defence Council has called for a reintroduction of conscription as a result of the Ukraine crisis
  • The move will reverse a 2008 decision to abandon conscription and will see Lithuania's armed forces increase by 45% in size

Lithuania is looking to reintroduce conscription to its military in the wake of the current crisis in Ukraine and deteriorating relations with Russia, the country’s president announced on 24 February.

Dalia Grybauskaite stated that “the State Defence Council, after evaluating the geopolitical situation and new threats to national security, has decided that it was necessary to reinforce Lithuania’s defence capabilities.”

The plan comes only seven years after Lithuania abandoned conscription and shifted to a fully professional service model in 2008. The government will need the approval of the Lithuanian parliament (the Seimas) in order to reintroduce conscription.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas stated that the “changed geopolitical situation and insufficient manning of units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces leads to a temporary reintroduction of conscription.”

As a result, the country’s State Defence Council has charged Chief of Defence Major General Jonas Vytautas Zukas with beginning preparations to reintroduce the draft.

“The development of the Lithuanian Armed Forces will remain directed at professional military service, however, today we lack professional soldiers so a compound model will be introduced for the coming 5 years,” added Olekas.

The proposed reintroduction of national service would see 3,000 to 3,500 personnel called up annually for a period of 9 months, the MoD stated. This would affect those aged 19-26, rising to 38 for graduates of higher education.

The State Defence Council is comprised of Grybauskaitė, Olekas, Maj Gen Zukas and the speaker of the Seimas, Loreta Grauziniene.

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