Supporting stabilisation after de-occupation: EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission on wartime visit to UkraineFebruary 08, 2024
“I am very happy and proud to see that, under the umbrella of the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine, many EU countries are committed to help our Ukrainian friends”. Josep Borrell, EU High Representative/Vice President (HRVP), pronounces these words under a grey sky, last Tuesday, on his fourth visit to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
The HRVP is referring to an EUAM Ukraine’s led activity organised in cooperation with a Specialised Team from the European Gendarmerie Force (EGF) aiming at assisting Ukrainian partners to build up a pre-deployment capacity, dealing with the stabilisation of the country’s de-occupied territories. The Specialised Team from the European Gendarmerie Force, deployed to Ukraine for several weeks, includes experts from Portugal, Spain, France, and Lithuania.
The European team will train more than 160 Ukrainian trainers who will share their acquired enhanced knowledge with their fellow officers, cascading the know-how to over 40,000 colleagues from the National Police of Ukraine (NPU) and the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU) selected for duty in the de-occupied territories. The whole exercise is conducted under the auspices of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA).
When in Kyiv, the HRVP assisted to some of the outdoors exercises, which include aspects of safety and security (vehicle check procedures, checkpoints handling), special tactics (arrest of dangerous individuals), and other topics such as handling of explosives, and treating of severe injuries. The training also involves the detection and protection of possible war crimes sites, and how to deal with bereaved family members.
“The training modules EUAM is delivering will equip the Ukrainian officers with the right skills that are so important when deployed to liberated territories”, says Borrell at the margins of his visit. Thanking the Ukrainian Minister of Interior, Ihor Volodymyrovych Klymenko, accompanying him to observe the training and addressing other Ukrainian partners, the HRVP Borrell touches upon the difficult situation Ukrainian security forces face while regaining control of the country’s liberated territories, where law and order is to be restored “because the civilian infrastructures have been destroyed, everything has been looted”.
Borrell observes the unprecedented challenges the Ukrainian Law Enforcement partners face in their daily work because of the war: “they have to take care of the traps, bombs, hidden mines that they found” following the withdrawal of the occupiers.
In appreciating the extraordinary efforts of the Ukrainian partners, the HRVP also mentions the horror of mass graves discoveries in Ukraine’s liberated areas, and the related collective and individual trauma. “This is something that requires training, which is what we are doing with this specific mission for security and police forces. I want to thank the Minister of Interior and the heads of the National Guard and National Police, for the work they are doing” adds Borrell at the exercise site. “Allow me to say that I am very proud of this cooperation that the European Union is doing with the Ukrainian security forces” he says, remarking that the EU will continue to support Ukraine.
Other high level Ukrainian officials attended the field exercise venue with the HRVP and his Delegation, including the Head of the National Police of Ukraine, the Commander of the National Guard of Ukraine, and the Rector of the National Academy of Internal Affairs. The Head of EUAM Ukraine, Rolf Holmboe, playing, together with the Mission’s personnel, a central role in the planning and the organisation of the activity, observes the training at Borrell’s side, along with EUAM’s colleagues, teamworking with the EGF and their Ukrainian partners.
Before moving on to further engagements, the HRVP underlines the importance of Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts taking place while reassuring the population about the reinstatement of the Rule of Law, stressing how this is a sign that the return to a certain normality is stronger than the war.