Latvian government moves forward with foreign military volunteer plan

Latvia's government is moving forward with legal amendments that would mean that in the case of a military emergency such as an invasion, foreigners could serve in special units of the Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) 

On Tuesday, April 23, the Cabinet of Ministers approved amendments to the Law on Military Service, which provides for the possibility of admitting foreigners to the National Armed Forces in the event of an exceptional mobilization or if martial law is declared in the country. A number of other relevant amendments are also planned in the law.

"Latvia is preparing for various military threat scenarios, learning from Ukraine's experience. The aim of this initiative is to organize the regulatory base so that Latvia, in the event of a state of emergency or martial law, can promptly accept volunteer foreigners into service in addition to the NATO forces that are already with us. This initiative would strengthen our defense combat capabilities, opening up a wider opportunity for motivated citizens of other countries to fight for our country," explained Minister of Defense Andris Spruds.

Foreign citizens who would like to serve in the National Armed Forces in an emergency situation will be required to stay legally in the territory of Latvia and know the national language or at least one of the official languages ​​of NATO to a suitable standard. The amendments include a list of countries whose citizens will be able to serve in the NBS.

In the case of general or partial mobilization, citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as citizens of Australia, Brazil, New Zealand or Ukraine will be able to voluntarily apply for military service in the National Armed Forces.

The Ministry of Defense will in the future determine the precise terms of the contracts such volunteers would be offered. In order to become law, the changes will need to pass through the usual channels of Saeima debate and parliamentary votes, so they are still some distance from becoming a reality.

As has been widely reported by international media, hundreds of foreign volunteers have fought with distinction in Ukraine in the International Legion to help that country defend itself from Russian aggression.  

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important