Stability Policing in Liberated Territories: EUAM’s Deputy Head and the European Gendarmerie Force in Snihurivka

February 02, 2024

Since early 2023, the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine has substantially increased its operations in liberated and adjacent territories (LAT), strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies to ensure the rule of law.

Supporting our counterparts in the LAT

Facing the challenge of infrastructure and equipment being destroyed or looted, police officers in the LATs deal with issues such as the proliferation of weapons, the return of internally displaced persons, as well as defusing social tensions. They must ensure community safety in areas that are often heavily mined and suffer from a lack of social and medical services.

In addition, police officers must quickly investigate alleged international crimes, while victims and witnesses are still present, and before crime scenes and evidence become contaminated. They build strong relations with the community, local authorities, and civil society to enhance social cohesion and de-escalate possible tensions.

To address these challenges, EUAM Ukraine developed a concept and an action plan to support the National Police, the Regional Prosecution Offices, the National Guard, and local administrations in stabilising and re-establishing the rule of law in the liberated areas. The Mission’s activities focus on:

  • cooperation and coordination with other actors;
  • capacity building and equipment provision;
  • support investigations of international crimes;
  • community safety dialogue.

In 2023, the cities of Izium in the Kharkiv region and Snihurivka in the Mykolaiv region were identified as pilot cities for the LAT Action Plan.

The plan has since resulted in the establishment of a Citizens Advisory Group in Snihurivka, training sessions on Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT), mine awareness, tactical combat casualty care, psychological first aid, and the donation of IT equipment.

Stability Policing

Following Russia’s unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine, the tasks of the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in Ukraine have been refocused. Once the Ukrainian Armed Forces liberate the territories, the main effort shifts to the LEAs, which perform functions of coordination and cooperation with civilian authorities and military institutions, protection of human rights, investigation of war crimes, identification of collaborators, restoration of public order, public safety and rule of law, conducting checkpoints, evacuation of civilians, and first response to threats posed by unexploded ordnance.

To support Ukrainian colleagues, the Specialised Team from the European Gendarmerie Force (EGF), comprising 10 experts from Portugal, France, Spain, and Lithuania, has been deployed to assist EUAM Ukraine in its mandated activities on the ground. The EGF, an international organization with a full spectrum of capabilities to conduct police missions in support of other international organizations within the area of crisis management. The primary role of the Specialised Team is to bolster the capabilities of Ukrainian LEAs in stability policing tasks and impart techniques, tactics, and procedures to the Ukrainian civilian security sector officers. This cooperation is central to reinforcing security and stability in the LATs.

In late January 2024, Maura O’Sullivan, EUAM Deputy Head of Mission, jointly with the EGF Specialised Team, visited Snihurivka to meet counterparts, presenting the training package on stability policing. The training course aims at raising the capacities of counterparts to restore and uphold public order and security, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights in the liberated territories.

During the meeting with Snihurivka Police and National Guard, the EUAM’s team discussed plans for the near future, such as the organisation of study visits and training of trainers in stability policing for the senior and middle management of the National Police and National Guard. Additionally, the Mission has created a working group for the Police and National Guard to start developing a Common Concept for creating a safe and secure environment in liberated territories.

“The Mission praises your daily contribution to the defence of Ukraine. We will continue to support you on your way to create a safe and secure environment for civilians despite the constant brutal attacks of the Russian Federation,” stated Maura O’Sullivan. “Developing skills in stability policing will help to restore policing and the Rule of Law in the liberated territories of Mykolaiv region and help to overcome current challenges.”

The joint efforts of EUAM Ukraine, the European Gendarmerie Force, and Ukrainian partners are crucial in rebuilding and preserving stability in Ukraine’s liberated regions. This cooperation, combining expertise and resources, plays a vital role in upholding the rule of law, ensuring public safety, and strengthening the resilience of Ukrainian society in the face of ongoing adversities.