Civilian-Military Cooperation in Crisis Management: The Case of the Civil Society in Ukraine´s Resistance

Project period
1. Jan 2023 -
31. Jul 2024
Project owner
Norwegian Defence University College
Project manager
Sæther, Tobias
Organization unit
Norwegian Defence Command and Staff College
Military science
Russia, security and defence policy
Ministry of Defence

The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has spurred a debate in Europe and Norway about security, doctrine, and the need for new conceptual thinking in the defence sector. We argue that the Ukrainian experience is directly relevant to ongoing discussions about the structure of Norway’s Armed Forces and the development of its total defence concept in today’s new and worsened regional security environment. This project looks at two aspects of the role of civil society in the ongoing war in Ukraine. The project has two Work Packages (WP)


WP I: A force multiplier? Civil Society and Non-state actors in Ukraine

The discussion about the Russian-Ukrainian War since 2022 has been almost completely dominated by looking at the role of conventional armed forces in the conflict. On the Ukrainian side, this is grossly simplified. Since Euromaidan in 2013-2014, an array of civil society organizations and non-state initiatives have emerged to support the armed resistance against Russian aggression. In sum, they involve a great many Ukrainians who voluntarily produces, buys and delivers clothing, food, cars, personal equipment and even military equipment for the front line. Ukrainian independent media outlets debunks Russian information operations. In 2022, such often highly personalized networks have been reactivated to support the Ukrainian army against the Russian full-scale invasion.

WP I asks: Why does Ukraine maintain a large array of non-state actors to support its war of defence, and how important are they to the country’s war of defence?


WP II Crisis management during conflict and war: The Ukrainian experience

How does one defend oneself and react to attacks against critical infrastructure? Such questions have returned to the fore in the wake of Russia’s renewed aggression against Ukraine starting in February 2022. Russia has periodically increased its attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine’s large cities and on critical infrastructure such as power and water systems drastically.

WP II looks into the major challenges Ukraine faces in responding to Russian attacks on its infrastructure and asks: By what means and how does Ukraine respond to Russian attacks on their critical infrastructure, and to what extent has Russia attempted to hit civilian versus military targets?