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Lithuania to Reinstate Limited Conscription

by VOA News February 24, 2015

Lithuania said Tuesday it would reinstate limited conscription later this year as a precautionary measure, given a new geopolitical situation.

'The current geopolitical environment requires us to enhance and accelerate army recruitment,' said a statement by President Dalia Grybauskaite's office issued after an emergency meeting of the State Defense Council. The statement also said that "threats to the state's security" necessitate that "the country's defense capabilities need to be strengthened further.'

The conscription, which would be renewed for a five-year period, still requires parliamentary approval.

Once lawmakers sign off, starting in September some 3,000 men between the ages of 19 and 27 would be drafted to serve for a period of nine months.

Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in March of last year and subsequent separatist conflict between pro-Russia rebels and government forces in eastern Ukraine have sent jitters through Lithuania, as well as neighboring Latvia and Estonia. All three are former Soviet republics with sizeable ethnic Russian minorities.

Even though all three are members of NATO, some analysts have warned that after breeding instability in Ukraine Russia might move to employ similar tactics against the Baltics.

Russia denies that it is behind any efforts to destabilize Ukraine or party to the conflict in the country's east.

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