The first group of recruits who have completed the reintroduced mandatory nine-month military service was transferred to reserve in a solemn ceremony in Lithuania's port city of Klaipėda on Saturday.
© DELFI (V.Spurytės nuotr.)

Speaking at the event, President Dalia Grybauskaitė emphasized the positive effects of conscription which was reintroduced in Lithuania last year.

"A year ago, the manning of our military units was merely at 36%, and the percentage now is 80. Imagine the effect the reintroduction of conscription has had. This also means that we are developing a well-prepared reserve capable of defending the state. All these troops, nearly 500 of them, will be a reserve trained for difficult situations," Grybauskaitė told the national radio LRT on Saturday.

Almost 500 young people including, 19 women, completed their service in the Lithuanian Great Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion. Over the nine months of service, they completed basic training, were instructed in the use of weapons and general fighting techniques, later specializing in companies and attending joint military exercises with NATO Allies in Estonia.

After the conscription scheme was reintroduced last year, all 3,000 troops volunteered to join the force.

Servicewomen and men who have completed their mandatory service will be divided into specialized companies for the army reserve. About one in four of those who did their initial service in the Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion declared willingness to stay in the Armed Forces and become professional troops or join the Lithuanian Military Academy.

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