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Foreign Policy Research Institute

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INTERNATIONAL WEEKLY № 15 (01.10.2017 — 18.10.2017)

NATO's strategic assistance to Ukraine as an investment in combating Russian total disinformation

At the beginning of October 2017, a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) in Bucharest took place. This event for Ukraine marked by a number of positive signals from NATO.Firstly, the resolution on ‘Stability and security in the Black Sea region’ [1] was adopted, taking into account the amendment of the Ukrainian delegation, which envisages the continuation of the strategic discussion with Ukraine and Georgia on the issue of Black Sea security, as well as further strengthening of cooperation within NATO. The head of the Ukrainian delegation, deputy Irina Friz, announced this. She also added that the NATO PA Resolution de jure creates the grounds for us to begin choosing the algorithm for membership gaining in NATO [2].

Secondly, it was decided to hold a meeting of the NATO PA in 2020 in Ukraine. Petro Poroshenko said on this occasion: ‘In spring 2020, Ukraine will host the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. For us, it is a very powerful signal from NATO’s countries of solidarity and support in the struggle for the sovereignty and territorial integrity’ [3].

Thirdly, the NATO PA Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security adopted a draft of Resolution on ‘Confronting disinformation and the weaponisation of information’ [4], which foresees expanding assistance to partner countries, in particular Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in the field of strategic communications. The resolution recognizes that theAlliance is alarmed by the Russian strategy of militarization of information and the conduct of sophisticated, well funded disinformation campaigns and intimidation campaigns designed to weaken, divide, and destabilize. Euro-Atlantic democracies erode trust in their government institutions, electoral systems, mainstream media and Euro-Atlantic solidarity and disturb their social fabric and undermine the Euro-Atlantic integration process. Among other things, the Resolution urges to designate or create specific units to conduct – in cooperation with private media companies and civil society – round-the-clock monitoring of detrimental uses of online platforms, exposing fake news and hostile propaganda, and countering them with facts, while respecting fundamental freedoms; to exchange best practices for protecting the electoral process, political parties and electoral commissions from disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks etc.

The President of NATO PA Paolo Alli noted that NATO's support to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia meant both strengthening the defense of the whole of Europe and the Alliance itself, and Alliurged members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to be vigilant and to avoid compromises where it is about protecting European and transatlantic values [5]. In addition, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated during the session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly: ‘Ukraine and Georgia should focus on reforms. These reforms are important, regardless of whether they become members sooner or later, and regardless of what they think about membership’. He once again stresses that the Alliance supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Stoltenberg recalls that NATO provides Ukraine with extensive political and practical support within the framework of ten trust funds and a comprehensive cooperation program. Although, he does not exclude a dialogue with Moscow  [6].

Thus, in the Ukraine-NATO relations, intensive dialogue recently has been taking place. Ukraine needs to continue reforms in the transition of the military sphere to NATO standards. However, the top politicians often compromises Ukraine as a state and the aspiration of Ukrainians to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community by such cases as the recent scandal with the plunder in the military sphere. And all this during the war. At the time when the highest military ranks of Ukraine are plundering, NATO is helping by practical actions both within trust funds and through the tools included in the Comprehensive Assistance Package, which was approved in 2016 at the NATO summit in Warsaw. This was stated by the head of the NATO mission to Ukraine Alexander Vinnikov. According to him, the package contains more than 40 adapted support measures in 13 key areas, including consultation of NATO experts. The package also includes the implementation of programs on capacity and capabilities development within 10 trust funds for a total of about 40 million euros. In addition, Vinnikov noted that six of these trust funds were established after the beginning of the aggression against Ukraine. ‘Trust funds working in such areas as logistics, communications, cyber defense, and the destruction of explosive devices remain powerful practical mechanisms for cooperation to develop operational capabilities and help in complex transformations in the Ukrainian Army’, added the head of mission [7].

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