Serbia is reportedly considering reintroducing compulsory military service as tensions in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe begin increasing amid WW3 fears.
President Aleksandar Vucic said army commanders gave him “a strong argumentation” in favor of mandatory draft.
Compulsory drafts here were suspended in 2011 in a push to professionalize the armed forces.
However, the Serbian president did not specify when the draft would return but said the national parliament would vote on the proposal.
“We are not threatening anyone,” Vucic said.
“Today, if you don’t have (a strong) army, you don’t have a country.”
“We will see if it (military service) will last 90 or 100 days, or maybe 110 days,” Vucic told reporters.
“As well as when it will be introduced and how the financial and logistical assumptions will be fulfilled.”
The Washington Post reported:
“Opposition politicians and other critics of a draft have questioned the logic of a military buildup when Serbia is almost completely surrounded by NATO member countries which have superior firepower in case of a conflict. There are also concerns that the government may struggle to foot the bill for a larger military.
Tensions have been high in the Balkans, which went through the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Although formally neutral, the Serbian Army has maintained close ties to Russia, from which it purchases most of its arms, including fighter jets and tanks.“
Serbia was one of the few countries to refuse sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Tensions revolved around Serbia’s former province of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, which Serbia and allies Russia and China have not recognized.
Over the last few months, Serbia has raised the combat readiness on the border with Kosovo several times.
The country also maintained cordial relations with NATO, whose troops have been stationed in Kosovo since 1999.
Earlier this week, top military officials warned that conscription could happen in the UK if NATO goes to war with Russia.
General Sir Patrick Sanders, the outgoing head of the British Army, said such a conflict would need to be a “whole-of-nation undertaking.”
“Within the next three years, it must be credible to talk of a British Army of 120,000, folding in our reserve and strategic reserve. But this is not enough,” he said.
“We will not be immune and as the pre-war generation we must similarly prepare – and that is a whole-of-nation undertaking,” Sanders added.
“Ukraine brutally illustrates that regular armies start wars; citizen armies win them.
“But we’ve been here before, and workforce alone does not create capability.”
The BBC reports that “other senior NATO military commanders have also recently been calling on the alliance to ready itself for a potential conflict.”
According to the outlet:
In response to Gen Sir Patrick speech the UK prime minister’s spokesman said hypothetical scenarios of a future potential conflict were not helpful and ruled out any move towards a conscription model for the Army.
One senior Conservative MP told the BBC he did not think Rishi Sunak had fully appreciated the threat posed by Russia.
The MP said that might be because the prime minister when growing up had not experienced the existential threat posed by the old Soviet Union during the Cold War era.
Gen Sir Patrick said the nation could not afford to make the same mistakes of 1914, when it failed to perceive the escalations that led to World War One.