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Hybrid threats are increasing, says NATO Assistant Secretary General

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Prague, Dec 1 (CTK) – Countries have always used propaganda, sabotages and similar operations, but never was hybrid warfare as extensive and intensive as now, NATO Assistant Secretary General Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven told the Prague Insecurity Conference on Friday.

Allied countries face hybrid threats not only from Russia but also from terrorist groups, Loringhoven said.

He said Russia lost a part of the influence it had in Europe and now it tries to regain it through hybrid tactics, including influencing elections, violation of key infrastructure by a cyber attack, spreading of propaganda and fake news.

The full use of the instruments of a hybrid conflict could be seen during the Russian annexation of Crimea when Russia used not only propaganda but also soldiers without uniforms, Loringhoven said.

The annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula showed how vague the difference between peace and war is, he added.

Terrorists calling for attacks against Western targets used hybrid operations as well, Loringhoven said, referring to recruitment campaigns of the Islamic State militant group aiming to radicalise Europeans.

He said hybrid operations are rather effective and they can compensate for disadvantages in standard military capacities. NATO is forming special units for countering hybrid threats, Loringhoven said.

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