Ukraine and the EaP Countries in Countering Hybrid Threats for Public Security

On November 1, 2017, the international round table "Ukraine  and  the  EaP  Countries  in  Countering Hybrid  Threats  for  Public  Security" was held in Kyiv. It became an important part of the project "Promoting building of Ukraine's capacities to guarantee citizens’ security in the conditions of hybrid threats" under the auspices of the UNP EaP CSF. The project is implemented by the Centre for Global Studies "Strategy XXI" with the assistance of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the grant component of the Project “Civic Synergy”. 75 representatives of governmental bodies responsible for the state and society security, the EU, the EU and EaP countries, Ukrainian scientific, civil society and expert organizations, Ukrainian and foreign media gathered around a table for the discussion. 


While opening the discussion, President of the Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI” Mykhailo Gonchar stressed that the word “war” is a key word in the definition of “hybrid war”, but identification of its hybridity makes it possible to put "a correct diagnosis" and, accordingly, assign a "correctly treatment". He noted the importance of the concept and consideration of "polyhybression", that is, an aggression in various dimensions, as the problem of hidden threats was relevant for many countries. The Eastern Partnership countries, especially those with strong European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, face the most dramatic challenges. He also presented a new publication of the Centre for Global Studies "Strategy XXI" - " Wars XXI: Russia’s Polyhybression".

Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation Yevhen Bystrytsky noted that it was important to understand the multidimensionality of hybridity, because it was not just propaganda. In this hybrid war there is an important dimension – an oligarchic one, on both sides. To overcome hybridity means to convince people and this is a complex issue, which underlines the multidimensionality of hybrid threats. According to his opinions, a hybrid war is based on the feeling imposed by other side that this war is faithful, and therefore it is necessary to spread the truth about Ukraine, about development of the country and society, although sometimes it is difficult.

State Secretary of the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine Artem Bidenko, in his turn, noted the difficulty of winning a hybrid war because it was waged at different levels. Therefore, responses should be asymmetric. At the same time, it is important to concentrate on the three main areas: development of strong institutions, which is the key to Ukraine's victory; development of strategic communications; development and support of an open society.

Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Hanna Hopko, drew attention to three important tasks in counteractions against hybrid aggression: national building; state building; identity building. The main attention of the state should be paid to protecting citizens.

In his speech, Acting Director of the Second European Directorate General of the MFA of Ukraine Vasyl Bodnar said that it was necessary to concentrate on the national interests, which should be clearly formulated in Ukraine, pay attention to information and energy security and develop coordination and interaction with the EU that is key for the success of the whole region of the Eastern Partnership.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Estonia to Ukraine Gert Antsu noted that the security landscape had changed significantly, it was important to take lessons from what had happened and there was still a lot of work in the EU, but there was already an understanding and awareness of what was happening in the EaP region. This is confirmed by the fact that the EU no longer speaks about separate areas and threats, but about their complex application and sources of origin. From its part, according to his words, the Estonian Presidency in the EU is trying to develop a security component of the functioning of the European Union.

Sector Manager on Law Enforcement Agencies and Fight Against Organised Crime of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Marco Ferraro gave the definition of "hybrid threats" formulated in the European Union and noted that hybrid threats could not only cause direct harm, but also use vulnerabilities in the countries and cause more harm to societies.

Coordinator on C4ISR of the Project Reform Office at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Mykhailo Lopatin made accent on necessity of development of network-centric capabilities as responses to challenges of hybrid terrorism.

Head of the International Program of the Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI” Vitalii Martyniuk presented results of expert survey on capabilities of Ukraine to guarantee citizens’ security in the conditions of hybrid threats and noted that assessments of 37 surveyed experts coincided with the views expressed at the discussion, for example on necessity of concentration of efforts on building of the strong state, formation of an open conscious society and counteraction against the hybrid aggression in the information-mental space.

Experts from the EU and EaP countries – Executive Director of the International Centre for Defence and Security (Estonia) Dmitri Teperik, Deputy Director of the Georgian Center for Security and Development Giorgi Goguadze, Chairman of the Center for Legal and Political Studies "Concord" (Armenia) David Shahnazaryan, Senior Economist, Institute «Viitorul» (Moldova) Veaceslav Ionita and Director of the Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies (Belarus) Arseni Sivitski, expressed their estimates of hybrid threats and countermeasures in their countries. In particular, Dmitri Teperik emphasized that national resistance to hybrid threats was not solely a matter for state authorities, but, to a greater extent, for the whole society. Ukraine, according to his estimates, still plays a game with a zero sum and does not aim at victory. Giorgi Goguadze stressed that, if the world community had made efforts to stop the Russian aggression even at the stage when it was unleashed against Georgia, there could be no war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. David Shahnazaryan noted that Russia was not a strategic partner for Armenia, but it was and remains a problem for Armenia's security. Veaceslav Ionita estimated that in many countries Russia made accent on using local elites, both open and closed ones, and used corruption schemes for their control. Arseniy Sivitsky noted that Russia was constantly influencing Belarus to prevent its exit from the area controlled by Russia by using information, energy, economic and other levers for those purposes. The National Coordinator of the UNP EaP CSF Gennady Maksak said that, although different countries of the EaP had different visions on assessing hybrid threats, there was still much in common that gives grounds for the need to determine an index of hybrid threats.

In general, the participants of the international round-table noted the need for a broad and multidimensional counteraction to aggression unleashed by the Russian Federation and expressed their support for strengthening regional security cooperation within the framework of the Eastern Partnership under the auspices of the EU.




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