Arial view of Chisinau, Source: Vadim Russu / Unsplash

The EU to deploy civilian mission to Moldova to counter disinfo and hybrid attacks

The EU to deploy civilian mission to Moldova to counter disinfo and hybrid attacks

Josep Borrell pointed to increased and continued Russian attempts to destabilise Moldova with hybrid actions

On Monday, the EU foreign ministry approved a new civilian mission to be deployed in Moldova. The so-called EU Partnership Mission in Moldova should help strengthen local resilience against the adverse effects of the war in Ukraine as well as hybrid and information threats to the country.

Civilian mission against hybrid attacks and disinformation

The mission is headed by Stefano Tomat, currently the EU diplomat services’ managing director of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability.

It will have a mandate for a period of two years and help to build Chisinau’s security sector in the areas of crisis management and hybrid threats, including cybersecurity, and countering foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI).

The mission will have a limited budget of 3.5 million euros for the next four months. At the same time, the mission’s first priorities are identifying local needs in organisation, training and equipment. Also, the mission should help strengthen Moldovan crisis management structures in the security sector.

Additionally, the mission’s size has yet to be determined, and as EURACTIV reported, it should be scalable and modular to adapt to changing needs over time.

EU reaching out

EU Partnership Mission in Moldova is a very significant step for the European Union, as it represents an extension of the bloc’s know-how and diplomatic arm towards the East. This is especially significant considering that Chisinau gained EU candidate status, along with Ukraine, in December of 2022.

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was quoted in a press statement, highlighting the fact that Moldova was one of the most affected countries by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He also pointed to increased and continued Russian attempts to destabilise Moldova with hybrid actions.

Additionally, Borrell named Russia as the main source of disinformation in the region citing research by the EUvsDisinfo branch of the European External Action Service at the start of February. Specifically, he mentioned official diplomatic channels as significant vectors of disinformation.

At the same time, the mission is also a response to a letter to High Representative Borrell from 28 January 2023, sent by the Moldovan Prime Minister, requesting aid under the Common Security and Defence Policy.

Since the start of the war, Moldova has seen an incredible amount of Ukrainian refugees with around 800,000 border crossings since 22 February and 107,000 refugees registered in the country, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Moldova has a population of just over 2.5 million, meaning this represents a significant demographic shift and a veritable humanitarian crisis.

Additionally, last February, Moldovan President Maia Sandu sounded the alarm that Russia planned a coup d’État in the country. This provoked her to attempt to restructure the government, which fell amid economic turmoil and protests.



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