Hybrid Threats: Defining Understanding and Counteraction in the Context of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

Artem Fylypenko, Head of the Sector for research of the Southern Region of NISS, took part in the expert discussion "Hybrid Threats: Defining Understanding and Counteraction in the Context of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (Regional Experience and National Approaches").

In his speech, the NISS expert analyzed hybrid threats to the Ukrainian part of the Danube region. The Ukrainian part is represented by 4 regions: Transcarpathian region, Ivano-Frankivsk region, Chernivtsi region, Odesa region with a total area of 68,100 sq km, with a population of 5.9 million people.

Artem Fylypenko noted the aspects of the Ukrainian part of the Danube region that make it vulnerable to hybrid threats, among them:

  • the complex and contradictory history of the regions, which affects the mentality of the population, in particular, the presence of a certain historical mythology that can be used in information warfare;
  • peripheral location, the presence of social problems, disparities in development between urban and rural areas;
  • multinationality, which can be used to provoke interethnic conflicts;
  • border location, which creates conditions for the influence of neighboring countries, as well as cross-border crime, in particular, smuggling and illegal trade.

NISS expert gave specific examples of hybrid activity of the Russian Federation in the Danube region. These are, in particular, provocations of separatism in Odesa region, in particular, in the southern regions (attempt to create the so-called Bessarabian People's Republic), terrorist acts in Odesa and Uzhhorod (arson of the Center of Hungarian Culture in 2018), attempts to incite interethnic enmity, attempts to speculate on the "Ruthenian" issue in Transcarpathia, the spread of fakes, in particular, with the use of media from neighboring countries.

The event was organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs within the framework of the Action Plan for the implementation in Ukraine of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region for 2021-2023.

Representatives of ministries and experts from 8 countries of the Danube region took part in the discussion.