EUAM Ukraine – Highlights and Achievements in 2023

December 29, 2023

Behind us lies another challenging year for Ukraine. Another year of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine. Another year of supporting Ukraine on its path to the EU. Another year of resilience, opportunities, and development. Let’s glance at the EUAM’s highlights in 2023.

Throughout 2023, the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine remained a steadfast provider of strategic advice to key interlocutors. This involved analysing and commenting on crucial strategic initiatives such as draft laws. Notably, the law introducing the passenger name record for counter-terrorism purposes was voted on by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and signed by the President in April.

The Mission’s ongoing collaboration with key partners allowed for significant contributions to important strategic documents. These include the Strategic Plan for Investigation and Prosecution of Conflict-related Sexual Violence Crimes, the Concept for implementation of the Support Mechanism for Victims and Witnesses of War Crimes, the Analytical Report on Increasing the Institutional Capacity of the Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine and others. EUAM also continued to contribute to the EU ‘Solidarity lanes’ action plan. Its influence extended to the development of Ukraine’s Integrated Border Management Strategy and Action Plan.

A pivotal moment came in May, when President Zelenskyy approved the new Overarching Strategic Plan for the Reform of the Entire Law Enforcement Sector. This plan signified an essential political commitment to bring Ukraine closer to the EU. The EUAM supported Ukraine in the development of the strategy, and we have, since it was adopted, worked closely with the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) and a broad group of Ukrainian and international partners to develop an action plan for its implementation.

The Mission took part in various working groups, including those focused on the Development of Criminal Law, the Public Safety and Civil Protection Strategy, the establishment of a center for vulnerable victims in the OPG, cooperation in Liberated and Adjacent Territories, Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA), and others. This participation allows the Mission to maintain close contact with partners and convey its expertise effectively.

As part of its practical support, the delivery of trainings remains one of the key activities of the EUAM. This year, the Mission focused on tailored training sessions and successfully trained 7,620 personnel from our partners’ organisations, including the OPG and regional prosecutors, the National Police, the Security Service, the State Bureau of Investigations, the Economic Security Bureau, the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ universities and the National School of Judges. Training sessions encompassed various activities in different formats, including workshops, seminars, and study visits. Training of trainers was a key focus. Throughout the year, we managed to train 354 trainers. Now, these individuals will disseminate the knowledge gained and share EUAM’s expertise with others.

In the spring of 2023, EUAM embraced change by not only altering its visual identity but also adjusting its mandate to take into account Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, as well as Ukraine’s EU candidate status. International Crimes and support in territories liberated from Russian occupation are key areas of focus for the Mission now.

As Ukrainian authorities continue their return to the liberated territories, aiming to re-establish policing, rule of law, and community safety, the Mission plays an essential role in supporting law enforcement agencies in this crucial task. In April, EUAM launched a pilot project in two liberated towns, Izium and Snihurivka, to support law enforcement agencies operating in hazardous environments. This initiative included providing various trainings for stability policing, community outreach, psycho-social support, and essential equipment provision to replace losses due to war or looting, as well as on the investigation and prosecution of international crimes.

Throughout the year, EUAM maintained its commitment to supporting Ukrainian partners in implementing reforms also through equipment. This included notebooks, communication and IT equipment, portable charging stations, solar panels, backpacks, radios, bodycams, and docking stations, as well as K-9 trailers and other necessary tools. This equipment will increase the capacity of different agencies to provide transparent and accountable service to Ukrainian citizens by documenting crimes, securing the evacuation of citizens, ensuring public safety and order, including in the liberated territories.

In line with its cooperation and coordination strand, the Mission facilitated several regional visits of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committees to ensure coordination and coherence in reform efforts. These visits assessed needs at Ukrainian-Polish border crossing points, familiarised members of the parliament with the functioning of local Law Enforcement Agencies in wartime conditions and facilitated high-ranking EU officials’ visits to liberated territories.

As 2023 concludes, the EUAM looks ahead with gratitude to the Netherlands and Austria, who have provided additional funding for the Mission’s activities. The commitment to supporting our partners remains unwavering.

In 2024, EUAM anticipates a year of impactful contributions to Ukraine’s integration with the European Union, fostering the reform of its civilian security sector to be efficient, accountable, and trusted by the public.