CEP Webinar: Extremist Foreign Fighters Traveling To Ukraine – Security Risks And Mitigation Measures

(New York, N.Y. / Berlin) – The war in Ukraine has led to an unprecedented number of individuals traveling to the country in support of the Ukrainian government. Many Ukrainian citizens and dual nationals are returning to their homeland, and several thousand non-Ukrainian volunteers responded to the Ukrainian government’s call for support and registered with Ukrainian embassies around the globe.

Among these volunteers are also a number of violence-oriented extremists, from both the extreme right and extreme left. These individuals present a latent security risk to their home countries. Their participation in the conflict will significantly increase their potential for violence upon their return. Therefore, if possible, their departure should be disrupted. This is particularly relevant for violence-oriented right-wing extremists in order to prevent the misuse of their presence in Ukraine in disinformation campaigns. Furthermore, movements of Russian right-wing extremists fighting on Russia’s side should be closely monitored, as some of these groups have provided support for attacks in Europe in the past.

If the departure of violence-oriented extremists cannot be prevented, their travel movements and their activities in the conflict zone should be documented and a system for returnee management should be established.

Since 2019, CEP has been systematically analyzing the phenomenon of violent extremists participating in the conflict in Ukraine, as well as paramilitary structures in Central and Eastern Europe. Based on this research and current observations, a new CEP policy brief summarizes the current state of affairs, including discussions in relevant German-language online forums, and makes a number of concrete recommendations on how to mitigate the emerging security risks.

Based on this research and in-depth monitoring of the current situation, CEP experts will discuss the various challenges governments face in preventing the departure of such individuals as well as the necessary proactive steps governments in Europe and North America should urgently initiate to establish a flexible system for returnee management, including in cooperation with relevant civil society organizations. Such as system must encompass options for prosecutions as well as deradicalization and reintegration mechanisms.

The webinar will be conducted in English via Zoom.

Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ET / 15:00 – 16:30 CET

EVENT PROGRAM:

Speakers:

Alexander Ritzmann – CEP senior advisor
Joshua Fisher-Birch – CEP research analyst
Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler – CEP senior director
Sofia Koller – CEP senior research analyst

Moderator:
Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler – CEP senior director

The initial discussion will be followed by a Q&A-session open to all participants.

REGISTRATION:

To participate in this webinar please register via this link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_cWtkkQ_OStmEpKj6YSVs9A

Please register up to 1 hour before the webinar start so that your registration can be approved in time.

Please feel free to forward this invitation to colleagues with an interest in the subject.

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