120 volunteers start compulsory military service in Latvia

Wednesday, January 17 sees a second batch of young people starting training under Latvia's revived national conscription scheme. 

Around 120 citizens will start their eleven-month service today with the opportunity to perform their national service in the Headquarters Battalion of the National Armed Forces in Riga, in the Air Force in Lielvārde and in the 2nd Vidzeme Brigade of the National Guard.

The cadre of 120 are all volunteers, so will receive a monthly wage of 600 euros (net), as well as compensation in the amount of 1,100 euros (net) after completing the service. That monthly amount is double what non-volunteers will receive if they are called up for compulsory service.

So far, the number of volunteers has been sufficient to avoid compulsory call-ups.

In total 600 young people are scheduled to start national service this year – 120 in January and 480 in July. 

488 Latvian citizens volunteered for the first conscription of the State Defense Service, and 254 young people eventually started the service on July 1 – the difference is explained by those deemed unsuitable for service for medical or other reasons.

224 Latvian citizens volunteered for the second conscription, which begins today, and the Ministry of Defense decided not to carry out mandatory conscription at random.

From January 1, 2024, the service has been designated as mandatory. Compulsory conscription will give priority to men aged 18 to 19. 

Latvia did previously have mandatory military service until January 2007, when it switched to a fully professional military service backed up by a National Guard militia, but reintroduced mandatory service last year.

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