The EU said on Monday it was establishing a civilian security mission in Ukraine’s neighboring Moldova to counter cyber and disinformation threats from Russia and other hostile states. File photo by Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE
April 24 (UPI) — The European Union unveiled a new security mission in Moldova on Monday aimed at helping the former Soviet republic manage crises and hybrid threats, including cybersecurity, and combat foreign disinformation and interference.
The EU Partnership Mission, established at Moldova’s request under the bloc’s Common Security and Defense Policy, will provide strategic and policy advice and capacity-building in the areas of early warning, threat detection, identification, tracking and response to hybrid threats, the European Council said. in a press release.
“Today we are increasing the EU’s support for Moldova, protecting its security, territorial integrity and sovereignty. The deployment of this new mission is another important political sign of the EU’s support in the current difficult circumstances,” said EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell. political leader who was speaking at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg.
The civilian organization will have an initial mandate of two years, will have its operational headquarters in an undisclosed location in Moldova, and EU Foreign Ministry diplomat Stefano Tomatas will be the operational commander.
In the near future, a Head of Mission will be appointed to lead operations on the ground.
Borrell said Moldova, which like Ukraine already has EU candidate status, is one of the countries “most affected” by the fallout from the war in Ukraine, adding that the bloc has seen “an increased and sustained Russian attempt to destabilize Moldova.” with hybrid actions’.
He added that Moldova and Georgia are “more or less in the same situation” as Georgia, as former Soviet republics bordering Russia and “feeling threatened” by a Russian invasion.
Borrell said the Luxembourg meeting would also address the “accession” to the EU perspective and the security situation, adding that “Georgia is a very important country for us, and remember that it has specific security problems because its territory is partially occupied . Russia. So, this is an important day to discuss Georgia.
Borrell’s statement followed comments by China’s ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, questioning the status of former Soviet republics, including Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, in international law.
In an interview with French television on Friday, he said the republics lacked status in international law because there was no international agreement to enforce their status as sovereign countries.
Referring to Crimea as Ukraine, Lu said “it depends on how you see the problem,” arguing that it was part of Russia gifted to Ukraine by the former Soviet leader. Nikita Khrushchev.
The comments sparked an angry response from the three Baltic states, demanding an explanation from Beijing, with Borrell vowing to raise the issue at Monday’s foreign affairs meeting to reassess and recalibrate the EU’s China strategy ahead of the next European Council meeting in June.
“If anyone is still wondering why the Baltic countries do not trust China as a “mediator of peace in Ukraine”, here is the Chinese ambassador proving that Crimea is Russian, and the borders of our countries have no legal basis,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. said a Twitter post.
China later appeared to distance itself from Lu’s comments, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning saying China “respects the status of former Soviet republics as sovereign countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union” and adheres to the goals and principles of the UN Charter.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the respective countries. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations with these countries, China has adhered to the principles of mutual respect and equality in developing friendly and cooperative bilateral relations. With them.
“China’s position on the issue of Ukraine is clear and consistent. We will continue to work with the international community to contribute to a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine,” said Mao.
But she accused some media outlets of trying to sow discord by misrepresenting China’s position on Ukraine.