On December 7th, Reseach Fellows, Tomáš A. Nagy and Katarína Klingová represented our GLOBSEC Policy Institute at the V4+ Security roundtable series in Kiev, Ukraine. The roundtable was devoted to two asymmetrically cover topics – i.e. cooperation within the sphere of defence training and education (minor attention) and Russian disinformation/propaganda (major attention).
The participants discussed potential deepening of defence cooperation among V4 countries and Ukraine / Moldova. Ukrainian participants raised the possibility of the involvement of V4 militaries in training exercises at Yavoriv base (originally designed to UN peacekeeping exercises) where numerous western militaries are already involved in cooperative engagements with Ukrainian armed forces. There is a great interest in greater cooperation in know-how exchange within the sphere of cyber security – which is still limited on both the side of Ukraine and V4. The Ukrainian side also expressed significant interest in the intensification of cooperation with NATO members, within the area of information warfare – which is already happing, but insufficient in its scope – as only 30 / 40 Ukrainian military officers are involved in NATO programs annually. In general, the impression of NATO-Ukraine/Moldova military cooperation is rather limited. The perceived intensity of communication within the Moldovan defence/foreign policy establishment is surprisingly small as well – as some high-level defence officials seemed to have only minor insight into programs of other departments. Both countries, Ukraine and Moldova expressed interest in EU CSDP enhancement – Moldova already contributed with peacekeepers to CSDP mission in Côte d’Ivoire.
As the second topic of the roundtable in Kiev, project partners discussed policy measures and tools to challenge disinformation and propaganda spread by the pro-Russian outlets and agents as part of hybrid and information warfare. The first and foremost measure is that the political representatives need to officially acknowledge subversive foreign influence in their countries and establish capabilities to counter such influence. The participants of the roundtable exchanged their country know-how and experience in debunking disinformation acknowledging deficiencies and opportunities for further development. The roundtable debate addressed also the need for common methodology and understanding of terms applied.
The participants suggested following policy recommendations:
- development of joint V4+ strategic communication strategy
- organization of study exchange tours for journalists and media
- establishment of partnership and education center specialized in hybrid war, which could be interconnected with hybrid center in Kiev or specialized Stratcom unit of the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic
- establish specialized task forces in each country which would encompass experts on communication, cyber space, social media and psychology
- develop trainings for civil society and media and establish media education among the youth
The roundtable discussion on security measures countering disinformation and propaganda was followed by highly-attended public debate organized by the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”. Project participants presented the impact of subversive foreign influence on their countries and compared the used narratives of Russian propaganda.