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EU to stage war games in preparation for 'hybrid threats'

European Union ministers will take part in joint war games over the coming months to better prepare the bloc for a range of threats, from cyber attacks to disinformation campaigns.

Finland's foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said that interior and finance ministers from the 28-country bloc would be tasked to respond to fictional scenarios during meetings in Helsinki in July and September.

By being able to respond, they would be able to help authorities on the ground.

"Military and civilian authorities can usually, in crisis time, do only what they have been trained for," Mr Haavisto said.

Finland has specialised in dealing with the issue and has set up a European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which since its inception two years ago now has 22 EU and NATO members.

Mr Haavisto said that under-the-radar actions to seek out vulnerabilities had become more prevalent, hence the need to war game potential threats.

He pointed to Russia's alleged jamming of GPS signals during military exercises around the Nordic countries last year as one such example.

"We want the union and member states to strengthen capacities to prevent and respond to hybrid threats," he said.

Hybrid threats can be based on a wide variety of strategies, ranging from the spread of fake news to undermining trust and cyber attacks on energy or communication systems. Russia has often been blamed for using such tactics.

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