Serbia Mulls Reinstating Mandatory Military Service Amid Rising Tensions

The Serbian government is looking at reinstating mandatory military service in the country amid increasing tensions in the Balkan region.

According to a defense ministry announcement, an official initiative has been launched to reactivate conscription, which will have a shorter duration than before.

Before the government put an end to mandatory military service in 2011, young Serbian men were required to undergo basic military training for six months.

This time, military conscription will only last for four months, with additional periodic training to ensure that conscripts will maintain skills and remain familiar with modern weapons and equipment.

“During that period, we could train the young guys well and then maintain them at that level of training at certain time intervals,” Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic said.

Official documents for the proposed initiative have reportedly been submitted to the President of the Republic and the Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces.

Beneficial to the Country

According to Vucevic, the move was inspired by other nations considering or implementing mandatory military service.

He said conscription would further strengthen the military and help increase the country’s combat readiness.

“We believe that this is beneficial for the entire country, for the entire society, and for everyone who will perform military service in the future, because they will certainly feel better and will be a source of pride for their homeland and families,” the defense minister explained.

Vucevic said his ministry will be ready to admit the first recruits immediately if the proposal is approved.

He also stressed that recruitment centers and barracks must be fully prepared, and that several infrastructure projects need to be launched if mandatory military service is to be implemented.

Increasing Tensions

The announcement comes amid growing tensions between neighbors Serbia and Kosovo.

Belgrade refused to recognize Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, resulting in multiple clashes.

The Serbian military had also been on high alert near its border with Kosovo due to frequent bouts of unrest.

Despite the apparent escalation of tensions, Vucevic made it clear that the military conscription is not a preparation for conflict.

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