Home World Britain should adopt national service and follow NATO member to 'defeat Russia'

Britain should adopt national service and follow NATO member to 'defeat Russia'


Latvia’s Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins said the best and only way to ensure against Russia’s aggressive policy was to consider a “total defence” model which would see citizens conscripted to fight – including in Britain.

Those called up would do so on short notice and could even be sent to the front lines, he said.

Mr Karins also noted that Britain and other NATO allies would have to increase their defence spending in the near future to protect their interests from adverse foreign powers.

His comments follow a series of recommendations from various figures across the political spectrum that some form of conscription should be rolled out in Britain.

This week, British Army General Sir Patrick Sanders called for the UK to be prepared to answer the call to fight in the form of a “citizen army”.

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Latvia reintroduced conscription more than two years ago, just after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The country shares a 133-mile border with Russia to its east, and is only slightly north of Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave that borders Lithuania and Poland.

It followed Finland, which also shares a lengthy border with Russia, in calling all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 27 are required to complete an 11-month term of national service. The completion of national service has now been extended to include women in the Scandinavian country.

Mr Karins was Latvia’s Prime Minister until September last year, and has now encouraged the UK and other European nations to follow in his country’s footsteps.

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “We would strongly recommend this. We are developing and fleshing out a system of what we call a total defence involving all parts of civil society.”

Although conscription wouldn’t increase a ‘top tier’ military, it would help to bolster the number of those who could step up to the task if needed.

Finland, for example, has built only a small standing army from conscription but has managed to amass a large reserve of up to 250,000 trained troops.

Due to historical and political legacies with Russia, Nordic countries like Finland and Sweden had never signed up to NATO.

With the onset of war, however, the countries have cited concerns over their borders as reasons for joining the 32-member pact.

Tobias Ellwood, a former minister and ex-chairman of the Commons defence committee, said he would take Mr Karins’s suggestions into account.

He said: “Visiting Finland recently, it was clear to see they have the most impressive ‘total defence’ model in Nato.

“Sitting on the West’s front line during the Cold War necessitated retaining the ability to mobilise much of the population at short notice.”

The British Army has struggled to appeal to prospective recruits, with numbers set to reach new lows by next year.

Only 73,000 active personnel will make up the military come 2025, according to army top brass, a figure that makes the country completely unprepared for war.

Despite this, some figures in Westminster have dismissed conscription calls. Lord Dannatt, a former head of the Army, said conscription was not necessary for a country so far away from Russia like the UK, and that adopting a national secretive was more sensible for the likes of Latvia.

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