One-third of the Lithuanian population are in favor of introducing universal military service in the country, according to a survey carried out by the pollster RAIT for BNS.
Conscript in Rukla
© J.Butkutės nuotr.

Eight percent of respondents back compulsory military service for all young people, both male and female, and another 23 percent approve of mandatory service only for all male citizens, the survey showed.

Twenty-five percent of those polled though that the current system under which a part of young men are called up for military service, should be left in place and another 34 percent said that Lithuania should have solely professional armed forces.

Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis says that the survey gives cause for some optimism, but at the same time reveals the need for more active efforts to inform the general public.

"Only a third back solely professional service and more than a half support mixed service in one or another form. We can see that there is understanding that conscripts have to be part of the armed forces. Thus, the results are good, but we still have to step up our efforts to communicate our ideas to the public," he told BNS.

The minister said that 2020 was the earliest date for introducing universal conscription, but 2021 and 2022 were possible dates as well.

"On the other hand, if the situation changed for the worse, quicker decisions might be made," he added.

Lithuania reintroduced partial military conscription in 2015 in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region. Over 3,500 men aged between 19 and 26 years are planned to be drafted this year. Conscripts from this year's first draft call are starting their military service on Tuesday.

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