EU identifies military weaknesses in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine | world news
The European Union will survey bridges, railways and airports in its member states to identify military weaknesses amid the war in Ukraine.
To help their armies move faster in times of conflict, the European Commission has unveiled a new action plan to find any gaps in Europe’s infrastructure that could slow them down.
It comes as war rages between Russia and Ukraine in one of the continent’s biggest conflicts since World War II.
The invasion served as a “wake-up call” for the EU to strengthen its defences, both on the ground and in cyberspace.
“One of the most important lessons from the delivery of arms and military equipment to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion is that every second counts,” said European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell.
“Rapid military mobility is crucial to respond to crises arising on our borders and beyond.”
Under the initiative, roads, bridges, rail lines, ports and airports will be evaluated to determine if they are unable to handle heavy or large military equipment, with priority being given to retrofitting those identified.
“Fast and Efficient Movement of Armed Forces” Across Borders
It also aims to ensure guaranteed access to fuel supplies across the continent and to develop an electronic system to reduce the time it takes for armed forces to cross borders.
Currently, due to formalities, customs and tax regulations, armies have to wait at least five days before they can transport military equipment across borders for war games and other maneuvers.
“With this new military mobility action plan, we will address existing bottlenecks to enable rapid and efficient movement of our forces,” added Mr. Borrell.
Other goals in the Military Mobility Action Plan:
- Promoting access to strategic military capabilities and maximizing cooperation with the civilian sector to improve armed forces mobility, particularly by air and sea;
- Improving the energy efficiency and climate resilience of transport systems;
- Strengthening cooperation with NATO and key strategic partners such as the US, Canada and Norway
- Promoting connectivity with regional partners and enlargement countries such as Ukraine and Moldova
The EU and NATO regularly join forces to conduct military exercises, but also have rapidly deployable combat brigades for use in times of conflict.
However, US military officers have long warned of the administrative and physical impediments to the movement of military forces in Europe.
Air Vice Marshal Sean Bell, who analyzed the war in Ukraine for Sky News, explained that the conflict has shown that “realistic training” is vital for Europe but currently represents a “lack” in their defense preparations.
“We’re a bunch of disjointed puzzle pieces lying on a table and you need to be able to train together,” he said.
Cybersecurity needs to be strengthened
Another tactic of concern is the use of cyberattacks, which in recent months have seen civilian facilities ranging from hospitals to shipping companies being attacked by hackers.
In its action plan, the Commission stated that the EU must intensify civilian and military cyber cooperation and improve exchanges between defense experts at national and European level.
Cybersecurity standards and certification requirements should also be strengthened, and common funds should be made available to help countries collectively invest in more modern cyber skills, it said.