EU to stage war games to prepare for hybrid threats

U.S. & World

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, left, meets with Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday June 24, 2019. (Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva via AP)

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HELSINKI (AP) — European Union ministers will take part in joint war games over coming months to better prepare the bloc for a range of attacks, from cyberattacks to disinformation campaigns.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Thursday that interior and finance ministers from the 28-country bloc will be tasked to respond to fictional scenarios during meetings in Helsinki in July and September. By being able to respond, they will be able to help out authorities on the ground

“Military and civilian authorities can usually, in crisis time, do only what they have been trained for,” said Haavisto.

Finland has specialized in dealing with the issue and has set up a European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which since its inception two years ago now has 22 EU and NATO members.

Haavisto said under-the-radar actions to seek out vulnerabilities have become more prevalent, hence the need to war game potential threats. He pointed to Russia’s alleged jamming of GPS signals during military exercises in the Nordics last year as one such example.

“We want the union and member states to strengthen capacities to prevent and respond to hybrid threats,” he said.

Hybrid threats can be based on a wide variety of strategies, ranging from the spread of fake news to undermining trust and cyberattacks on energy or communication systems. Russia has often been blamed for using such tactics.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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