The number of professional troops in the Lithuanian army will grow by more than a thousand, and discussions on the number of conscripts have been postponed until the fall after the Seimas of Lithuania on Tuesday endorsed the principled structure of the country's army in 2016.

Under the government's proposal, the general marginal limits of troops in 2016 will range from 17,890 to 22,760, compared to the existing limits of 16,840-21,960.

The Seimas also discussed the possibility of extending the period of recently-reintroduced conscription or return conscription for an indefinite period of time.

"We have recently reintroduced conscription and we would not want to send a wrong signal to the public on what it would be in 2021 since we have not agreed yet and made any decision. Therefore, the committee suggests endorsing the principled army structure for 2016 only and move the issue of the army in 2021 to the fall," Arturas Paulauskas, chairman of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defense, said. This proposal was backed by lawmakers.

Next year, compared to 2015, the lower limit of professional troops will be increased by 1,250 to at least 9,050 and the upper limit will be increased by 1,300 to 10,100 troops.

The Ministry of National Defense says the increase is aimed at solving the problem of staffing of the army's combat units to ensure full staffing of combat units by 2021 when the limits of the professional army would range from 14,000 to 19,000.

Meanwhile, the marginal numbers of conscripts will be slightly lowered to 3,350-4,090, compared to the existing numbers of 3,550-5,090.

Moreover, the ministry said, the Land Force will have a new unit – a mechanized infantry brigade.

Lithuanian is stepping up its military capabilities and has reintroduced conscription in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

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