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Does Ukraine represent a new “global whole-of-society” warfare?

Has the war in Ukraine given rise to a new whole-of-society approach to warfare? 

Is it redefining the roles of governments, multilateralism, and non-state actors, such as the private sector and civil society? Certainly, we have witnessed a range of responses to the war, from economic sanctions and the withdrawal of business activities from Russia to private sector actors providing internet and digital support to Ukrainians on the frontline, and entrepreneurial alliances between hackers and cybersecurity experts to tackle disinformation and protect citizens.

On 27 October 2022, the think tank Friends of Europe will hold its annual State of Europe high-level roundtable in Brussels. In the run-up to State of Europe, Debating Europe is convening a series of citizens’ panels, with a mix of citizens and civil society representatives. Each of these citizens’ panels will be matched to a session at State of Europe.

Our first citizens’ panel in the series is on the topic of “Redefining the toolkit of modern warfare”. You can watch the panel in the video above. Taking part were:

  • Luca
  • Joanna
  • Simina

Does Ukraine represent a new “global whole-of-society” warfare? 

In which areas can the private sector and civil society groups have the greatest impact? Can the private sector and civil society groups reach audiences inside closed authoritarian societies to counter propaganda and disinformation? Where do governments encourage or discourage private sector and civil society initiatives, as they have done regarding foreign fighters, illicit financial flows or arms smuggling to conflict zones in the past?

Image by Freepik

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