The international seminar focused on combating hybrid threats in the Baltic region
The international seminar “Russia’s influence in the Baltic Sea Region – national and institutional experiences countering hybrid threats” was held in Vilnius on 7 November 2017. It aimed to consolidate the responses of participating countries to the challenges posed by hybrid threats and to get a better insight into the Russian influence in the Baltic region.
“Russia has never stopped treating the Baltic states as though they were in the sphere of its influence. It used to make use of and continues to use its political, economic and energy resources, propaganda, cyber, information and other means both openly and secretly to make our countries vulnerable and weak,” Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Darius Skusevičius said in his opening address. “Russia’s actions in Ukraine were still another proof of the effectiveness of the hybrid measures being used.”
The Vice-Minister expressed hope that the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE) would contribute to national efforts and would become a hub of coordination of the most advanced EU and NATO strategies countering hybrid threats. “The centre of excellence set up in our region will offer better prospects for Nordic and Baltic countries, and Poland to focus on security challenges in the Baltic Sea region and a possibility for Lithuanian experts to share Lithuanian experiences and practices,” Darius Skusevičius said.
This was the first international event dealing with hybrid threats held in Lithuania. It was attended by official representatives of the signatories of the Hybrid CoE, NATO and the EU, by experts, members of the academic community, and the military. The conference was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania in cooperation with the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats and the Eastern Europe Studies Centre.
The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats was launched in Helsinki in early September; its Participants are Estonia, Spain, the UK, the USA, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, France, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the EU, and NATO. Lithuania is represented in the Hybrid CoE by Eitvydas Bajarūnas, Ambassador at Large, Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.