International

EU, Ukraine to discuss military training and cyber threats

By The Associated Press

BRUSSELS: The European Union is considering providing a military training mission to Ukraine amid continuing tensions between Russia and the former Soviet republic. Officials gave this information on Monday.

Acting on a request from Ukraine for help with “professional military education”, the European Union sent a fact-finding mission to the country last month.

The topic will be discussed during Tuesday’s summit in Kiev, officials said on condition of anonymity, in accordance with EU practices.

The results of the mission have yet to be analyzed to define how the block can best help, and what the support might look like.

An official said the European Union’s Political and Security Committee, which is responsible for the bloc’s common foreign and security policy, will return to the issue in November.

“What we are looking at at the moment is to explore the possibilities of supporting more broadly what I would describe as Ukraine resilience, and that clearly includes the need for professional military education,” said one official. area is included.”

This summer, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky urged closer ties between his country and NATO and the European Union. Ukraine is locked in a bitter tug-of-war with Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and has been backing a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine since then, and Kiev’s efforts to increase support among Western nations.

The European Union has imposed economic sanctions against Russia and targeted many individuals and entities with restrictive measures in response to the annexation of Crimea and called it “the intentional destabilization of Ukraine”.

Rebels’ occupation of Ukraine’s east and its support for Moscow, where fighting between separatists and Ukrainian forces has killed more than 14,000 since 2014, undermined Russia’s ties with the West after the Cold War.

Tensions escalated once again this year when Russia increased troops along its borders with Ukraine, which includes Crimea, sparking international outrage.

At the summit, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are set to reiterate the EU’s “unwavering” commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, officials said. Zelensky will represent Ukraine during the talks.

They will also discuss propaganda and cyber security with their Ukrainian counterparts. The two sides have started a so-called cyber-dialogue, with a second round of discussions on that topic scheduled for next year.

“What we want to achieve is actually to establish a mechanism to strengthen and deepen the inter-institutional cooperation on cyber security on an almost daily basis,” an official said.

Other discussions at the summit will center around progress made by the two sides since the signing of their landmark Association Agreement in 2014, which stipulated free trade and visa-free travel between the two.

The EU will acknowledge efforts made by Kiev to continue reforms – including the rule of law and judiciary, and the creation of effective anti-corruption mechanisms – to encourage further commitment from the bloc’s authorities to ensure The change is expected to be irreversible.

Other topics will also include climate change, aviation, energy and cooperation in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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