Military service is compulsory for adult males in Finland, and this year's batch of 12,500 men and women began their training today Monday. Some 300 of the conscripts are women who have entered the military voluntarily.
About 10,000 people started their stint in the ground forces, some 1,550 in the navy and 650 in the air force. Some 300 people went in for border patrol duty.
The largest units in Finland are the Kainuu and Karjala Brigades, with around 2,000 conscripts starting in each this year. The Swedish-speaking Uusimaa Brigade gained some 750 new recruits. At the same time about 9,200 Finns ended their military service.
Conscription applies to Finnish male citizens aged between 18 and 30. Various organisations such as the Union of Conscientious Objectors consider the practice to be morally unjustified. Two other avenues – a prison term or year-long civilian service – are open to those who opt not to enter the military.
Under 30-year-old foreigners must undergo basic military training in Finland if they are granted Finnish citizenship. Army training in another country exempts them from conscription, though.