Ukraine ramps up fight against Russia’s hybrid war

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Russia’s information warfare against Ukraine goes back years before the 2014 Euromaidan revolution. But the country has only begun to take the threat seriously in the past few years. According to experts, combating the Kremlin’s hybrid war will take serious reforms.

Hybrid war has been a buzzword surrounding Ukraine for more than three years. But the country has dealt with its effects for longer than that.

YULIIA LAPUTINA, DEPUTY CHIEF OF CYBER DEFENCE AT THE SBU:

In 2007 a fund was created by Russian presidential decree. It was founded by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Science and Education. The source of financing was the state budget of Russia. From 2008 to 2012, the foundation established more than 10 “Russian centers” in Ukraine. Their locations are telling: Sevastopol, Simferopol, Luhansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Odesa. Their leaders had known anti-Ukrainian positions.

Officials from Ukraine’s Security Service, also known as the SBU, say that people connected to Russia’s hybrid war often go unpunished.

DMYTRO TYMCHUK, MEMBER OF UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT:

And then the question arises in the interested public: “Why are these comrades not in prison?” Everyone remembers how he ran around with the Russian flag, shouting “Putin, send troops!” Law enforcement officers and intelligence services worked on these cases, but when it came to courts, judges made very strange and curious decisions.

Ukrainian political scientists argue that, to fully combat Russia’s hybrid war on all fronts, intense reforms need to be implemented. Some say that should include giving the SBU broader powers.

MYKHAILO MAKARUK, PRESS SECRETARY OF A MILITARY BLOG:

The intelligence services can’t do anything with domestic separatism or media that conduct anti-Ukrainian activities. We need a number of legislative changes. Firstly, ones concerning information security and the work of the SBU. We’ve taken part in drafting a bill to address collaboration with separatists.

They add that Ukraine can help the international community combat hybrid war.

OLEKSANDR KURBAN, UKRAINIAN POLITICAL SCIENTIST:

I think it’s time to raise the issue of classifying the information war on the same level as weapons of mass destruction. We need to develop the appropriate regulatory and legal acts. Ukraine has the right to come out with these initiatives on the world stage. Because we are ahead of the whole planet. Unfortunately, we have rich experience in this issue.

HANNA MALYAR, LAWYER:

Before the war in Ukraine, the world viewed the concept of “preparing and planning for war” only on a military scale — the use of weapons and invasion of territory. There was no legal assessment of the informational aspect. But that’s one of Russia’s key tools. And Moscow should be held criminally responsible.

To work with international partners on combating the hybrid war, Ukraine is planning to create an institute on strategic information. The body will allow ministries to work together to collect and share information regarding Russia’s hybrid tactics to the world.

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Edited by: A. N.

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