Crisis Simulation Tabletop Exercises on Community Resilience in Sumy

The intensive event gathered around 20 participants representing various Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, local authorities, territorial defence units, opinion leaders and journalists from the northeastern city of Sumy.

During January 26-27, 2022, participants from the Sumy Regional State Administration, police, emergency service, border guard service, territorial defence and media worked on a simulated scenario to resolve a hybrid crisis.

Since mutual trust and willingness to cooperate is regarded as the key to community resilience, the main objective of the exercises was to strengthen horizontal ties between local authorities, security and civilian sectors. 

Dmitri Teperik, Resilient Ukraine programme director, assures that resolving any crisis requires a professional approach to effective communication and strong networking between professionals from various organisations and institutions, particularly, those who prepare and make decisions.

“Many crises in Estonia’s recent history have been much easier to resolve through the learned and trained cooperation of different stakeholders in the communities, when emergency services, police, representatives of local authorities, civil experts and journalists began to work together for a common goal. We would like to develop and validate this approach in Ukraine taking into account the Estonian experience”, said Dmitri Teperik.

The exercises were also attended by observers from the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine, which provides strategic advice and practical support for specific reform measures to Ukrainian authorities in the civilian security sector.

Ove Pettersson, EUAM Adviser and Trainer on Community Policing, emphasised that the scenario event was quite realistic and involving.

"The incidents and events prepared for these crisis simulation exercises are very similar to real life. As the events in the play kept unfolding, we observed that the participants increasingly felt themselves outside their daily comfort zones. The realism of the lifelike scenario had a significant effect“, commented Ove Pettersson.

Dmytro Sheludko, EUAM Regional Operations Officer, noted the professional approach of the law enforcement agencies’ workshop participants in their dealings with operational level tasks.

“Working together in a crisis scenario at the regional level unites the group and strengthens their mutual ties. We saw that these ties actually improved resilience, and, as a spin-off, also led to more robust crisis preparedness“, concluded Dmytro Shedulko.

The participants were awarded with official certificates at a closing ceremony, with participation of the First Deputy Head of the Sumy Regional State Administration Mr. Taras Savchenko and the Ambassador of Estonia to Ukraine H.E. Kaimo Kuusk.

From January to May 2022, similar crisis simulation exercises will take place in seven Ukrainan cities: Dnipro, Mariupol, Zaporizhia, Mykolayiv, Kherson, Odesa and Kharkiv.

The International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) is the leading think-tank in Estonia specialising in foreign policy, security and defence issues. We aim to be the regional knowledge hub of first choice for the security and defence communities of Estonia, its allies and partners.

“Resilient Ukraine” programme aims at developing standards for measuring the resilience of Ukrainian society and continuous improvement of this system. The given programme has been implemented by the International Center for Defence and Security (ICDS) since 2016 with the support of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the development cooperation program. 

The project is implemented with financial support from the U.S. Department of State Office of the Assistance Coordinator for Europe and Eurasia under the Eighth Round of the Development Cooperation Partnership (DCP) Program.