Over the past four years, there are almost no Western democracies left which would not feel the impact of the Russian hybrid attacks. Even those who ignored the threat or put in doubt its seriousness were forced to take measures to counter foreign interference. This was announced by Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze at the opening of the discussion "At the cutting edge of the hybrid war: from the Baltic to the Black Sea" held within the framework of the International Conference The Hybrid War Decade: Lessons Learned to Move Forward Successfully which was opened in Kyiv.
"Meanwhile, other authoritarian regimes are willing to apply Russian methods and strategies in their countries. Further ignoring this threat makes Russia and its followers only stronger and more effective in their actions. Elections and referendums have become battlegrounds, and attacks are conducted through social networks, media space, cyber space. The purpose of the attacks of the enemy states is not conquest, but the subordination of the weak states and demoralization, disorientation of the strong ones ", Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze stressed.
The Vice Prime Minister believes that close international cooperation in this area is needed to organize effective counteraction to hybrid threats. The main platform for such cooperation is NATO. "I want to emphasize that NATO is currently the only international structure capable to form effective and adequate response to the Russian hybrid war," she said.
According to her, today Ukraine is at the epicenter of the hybrid war - at its forefront: from the Baltic to the Black Sea. "It is important to realize that we are dealing with a systemic threat, and not with separate conflicts. Increase of the Russian military footprint in Arctic, demonstration of force and provocation near the Baltic states, militarization of the Kaliningrad region, open military aggression in the east of Ukraine and provocations in the Sea of Azov, militarization of the Black Sea and the transformation of the Ukrainian Crimea into a closed military base, large-scale cyber attacks, weapons on the streets of the British towns of Salisbury and Amesbury - all these episodes are part of one policy. Consequently, the democratic community's response must be unified and systemic. Ukraine is a central element of this response," the Vice Prime Minister stressed.
She stressed that, despite Ukraine's tremendous progress in security organization of information and cyberspace, it is essential to continue work on finding out specific tools and methods of operations of the influence of hostile states, in particular, it is successfully being carried out within the NATO-Ukraine platform designed to study the experience of countering the hybrid warfare which was created in 2016 at the meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission within the framework of the Warsaw Summit. "The deepening of cooperation in this area between Ukraine and NATO will strengthen both sides, and will become an important element of the process of Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine," Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze emphasized.
"Even skeptics understand that the purpose of Putin's hybrid aggression is to discredit democratic procedures, cause dissention and undermine mutual trust within the EU and NATO, and hence security cooperation. Therefore, our common task is to make democracy a strong one. The essence of a hybrid attack is to identify and use divisions, disputes existing in our societies against ourselves. Thanks to this populists, nationalists, and euro-skeptical political forces are supported by Russia," Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze underscored.
The International Conference The Hybrid War Decade: Lessons Learned to Move Forward Successfully will take place on November 7-8 in Kyiv. The target of the conference is to sum up the results of the first decade of the hybrid war and to develop recommendations for effective joint actions. Ukrainian and foreign government officials, as well as high-level experts will take part in the said conference. They will discuss comprehensive and common approaches to security issues, in particular, concerning the cooperation between Ukraine and its European and Euro-Atlantic partners. The themes of the panel discussions will cover the political, military, informational dimensions of the hybrid war, cyber threats, the activities of special services, etc.