Security Sector Reform in Ukraine


For more than a decade, PSSI has actively implemented numerous projects focused on Security Sector Reform in Ukraine. The main goal is not only to provide the interested parties with know-how gathered during the transformation of foreign and security agenda in the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia) in the 1990s, but also to offer tailor-made trainings and consultations on security-related challenges.

PSSI focuses its activities mainly on Ukrainian regions and cities (e.g. Charkiv, Odessa, Slaviansk, Kramatorsk, Kherson etc.), where it has developed a rich network of partners. These include members of the armed forces, police, local administration, NGOs, and volunteers.

Among the topics covered by our projects are: transformation of security forces; cyber security; police training and community policing; integrity tests and anti-corruption measures in security forces; and combating organized crime, human trafficking, asset seizure. 

Our activities are complemented by e-learning component.

As part of its activities, PSSI staff also participated at the annual essembly of the Eastern Partnership Forum, entitled “Building a Common Secure and Democratic Future.” The event took place between 28-29 November in Brussels. Find more information about the event here.


Special Project (2016)

The special Team 4 Ukraine (T4U) has gathered Czech experts working within PSSI’s projects in Ukraine since 2014, which, while officially formed in 2015, started operations in 2016. The T4U is coordinated by PSSI Fellow Petr Pojman and throughout 2016 it has taken charge of PSSI’s projects in Ukraine. Detailed information on T4U activities can be found on its website or Facebook page. PSSI, with support of the Czech Ministry of the Interior, also started a larger project in Uzhhorod, titled “Civil society as an important partner of the police and citizens”. The project is dedicated to improving interaction between the population and the police, community policing, and human trafficking issue in order to support Ukrainian police reform.

In April 2016, PSSI's and T4U‘s experts conducted a two-week research trip to eastern Ukraine in order to identify local needs and key security challenges. This involved a series of meetings with local authorities, security and police agencies, members of civil society, activists and local journalists. Based on these findings, a number of topics and themes overlapping both the Ukrainian demand and PSSI expert capacity were identified, namely the challenge of improving cyber security, strengthening civil society development, and tackling hybrid and information warfare.

In 2016 more than 1000 policemen, cadets and several hundreds of NGO personnel and volunteers attended PSSI’s lectures and trainings focusing on the above mentioned areas of expertise. An important part of PSSI’s activities, which are outlined in more detail below, consisted of sharing practical field experience.

Cyber Security

During the April visit, Tomáš Flídr, Member of Board of the Czech Institute of Information Security Managers, provided large-scale cyber training for special polices forces, cadets from the Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs, volunteers, and local NGOs (more information is available here). In addition, PSSI's Ivana Smoleňová and IT expert Jan Lipavský held special lectures about information warfare and cybersecurity in Mariupol, Odessa and Kramatorsk.

In early June, PSSI's Petr Pojman took part in the Donbass Media Forum in Mariupol. An interview he gave during that Forum is accessible here (in Russian).

In July, Petr Pojman and Tomáš Flídr visited the regional police headquarters of Doneck Oblast in Mariupol and delivered training on protection against cyber attacks to local cyber police staff. During the visit they also held a lecture about cyber security and shared their experience in this field with local leading NGO Centr Tju and Halabuda. More information on Mariupol activities can be found in this article (in Ukrainian).

 Beside these events Pojman and Flídr gave an interview for local M TV (in Russian) in which they mentioned most important issues in cyber security.

In December, the T4U, in cooperation with Maydan Monitoring held a two-day course on security awareness for civic sector in Kharkiv. T4U’s experts introduced participants with possible attacks on social networks, mobile phones, social engineering and physical security. An article about the event is accessible here (in Ukrainian)

Community Policing

In June, PSSI Fellow Petr Pojman conducted five-day training in Kherson, located in southern Ukraine, in which he introduced to local patrol police basic principles of community policing (article about the training). Police forces were also acquainted with the Czech experience of conducting integrity tests of civil servants, along with fighting political corruption and combating organized crime. These trainings involved 300 policemen and at the end the Head of patrol police Lieutenant Maksym Yermakov presented Petr Pojman with a ceremonial certificate for the lecture to the patrol police.

Between October 11–14, a number of Czech experts held a series of discussions with Ukrainian counterparts in Uzhhorod about the role of communication between civil society and police. During the meetings members of the patrol police were provided with techniques on how to address crime prevention; namely crime maps, community policing and examples of good practice in combating human trafficking. It is important to highlight that the new patrol police has become highly professionalized and motivated. Additionally, an informal gathering was organized with the expert community from the Uzhhorod National University.

The discussions were realised within the project supported by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic and coordinated by PSSI Fellow Petr Pojman. They were designed to contribute to sharing best practices and lessons learned between the Czech Republic and Ukraine.

Among the Czech representatives were Soňa Svobodová, Chief commissioner - lecturer in the Department of police training and service training, Czech Police; Markéta Hronková, director of La Strada, an organization that systematically tackles the problems of human trafficking and exploitation; and Ondřej Skalník, project coordinator at the Otevřená Společnost.

Main partners on the Ukrainian side were Gromadskij Konvent, Centre for strategic cooperation, and Patrol Police of Uzhhorod and Mukachevo.

The activities of Czech experts led by PSSI Fellow Petr Pojman were intensively covered by local media. Watch reports about the gatherings at Uzhinform portal, Tysa1 TV or Media center of Uzhhorod National University (UZHNU) or read articles about them in local news sites, Osvita, Pro zahid, Zaholovok, Vholos and on UZHNU website (all in Ukrainian). Local news sites Zakarpattya and Zaholovok also reported on a press conference that followed the discussions (both in Ukrainian). Photos are available on PSSI Facebook page.

Tactical Training

On October 17–19, PSSI’s Petr Pojman and Pavel Ditmar, an instructor on civil defence, VIP protection tactics and street fighting, conducted a three-day practical training for women on self-defense and first aid in Kherson. On October 21, they held similar training including CQB tactics, and a training course on police tactics against drug addicts for students of the Odessa State University of Internal Affairs. Pavel Ditmar also gave a lecture on city planning focused on alcohol and drug addicts.

In October and December 2016, PSSI’s Pavel Ditmar held practical and theory classes on law enforcement self defense for a volunteer police formation “Police of public security” in the Chornomorsk and Odessa region. Photos are available on their Facebook page.


Presentation of the project in Prague (Russian/Ukrainian) and in Mariupol (Russian).

Debate with PSSI’s Petr Pojman, Sonja Svobodová, Chief commissioner - lecturer, Department of police training and service training, Czech Police; and Ukrainian police officers about the work of Ukrainian police in Tysa1 TV program “The Main Thing” (Ukrainian/Russian, October 13, 2016).


Enhancing Accountability and Transparency of Security Forces in Ukraine (2015)

The main purpose of the project was to contribute to enhancing the capacities and involvement of local communities in maintaining public order, and to improve communication within the local security community: local authorities, security and police agencies, civil society, activists and local journalists. Among the Czech experts involved were representatives of the Czech Police, members of academia and non-governmental organizations. All events were attended by representatives of EU, NATO and OSCE advisory missions to Ukraine and of the Czech Republic’s Embassy in Kiev.

The first roundtable, organized in cooperation with the Institute of World Policy, took place in May 2015 in Kiev. Among the issues discussed were disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of members of non-state armed groups, screening of members of state security agencies and community policing. The event was attended by representatives of other partner organizations, which consequently co-organized the activities in Charkiv and Odessa. In the second phase of the project, held in June 2015, an informal meeting was held with volunteers and representatives of civil society, and subsequently the second roundtable took place in Charkiv with a focus on the practical experiences of the Municipal Police in Plzeň and NGO Open Society in monitoring police activities. In a similar format – an informal meeting with activists and roundtable at the Police Academy – was organized in September 2015 as part of a two-day visit to Odessa. A representative of the Police School of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic in Holešov attended this third phase of the project as a lecturer along with a  member of Czech regional unit for combating economic crime. In November 2015, PSSI organized a presentation of project findings for representatives of the Czech security community at the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic.

The project has been supported by various online activities. All the lectures and discussions were recorded and uploaded to the e-learning platform of the IRSEC Hub (International Relations and Security Affairs Resource Hub).

In addition, PSSI has created the online information platform ‘Ukraine Analytical Hub’ that is a sub-platform within the IRSEC Hub website. It gather unique expertise and analytical publications that relates to Ukraine from leading IRSEC Hub partners in Central and Eastern Europe as well as other world's top think tanks. Ukraine Analytical Hub has been supported by the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The project was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and NATO Public Diplomacy Division.


Security Sector Reform and Democratic Control in Ukraine (2014)

In 2014 PSSI launched a new project supported by the Czech MFA Transition Program. The aim of the project was to identify key challenges in reform and consolidation of security sector in Ukraine and to offer expert assistance in their managing.

In the first phase, we consulted local partners from state institutions and NGOs (e.g. Centre for Military-Political Studies) and other partner organizations about their needs and expert demand of security community in Ukraine. The topics and themes overlapping both the Ukrainian demand and the Czech expert capacity were identified, namely the challenge of consolidation of security sector in Ukraine at central and local level.

The Project was implemented by PSSI Team led by PSSI Senior Fellow Jiří Schneider that included other security experts from academia and NGOs. Czech diplomats and security advisors in Ukraine were involved in shaping and assisting the project.

In the second phase, PSSI in cooperation with the Institute of World Policy in Kiev, organized a round table held on December 11, 2014. It focused on institutional overhaul of security sector with specific focus on mechanism of security clearances and on capacity building in local policing, training and cooperation with local stakeholders, support the work of police at communal level, including restoration of public trust in security forces. In discussion we identified topics for follow-up projects to be implemented by Czech experts, NGOs also incorporation with other countries and ongoing advisory and mentoring missions by OSCE, EU and NATO.


Czech Experience and Know How in Security Reform (2006)

On May 21-28, 2006, PSSI organized a program for young civil service and NGO representatives from Ukraine. The aim of the study visit was to share Czech experiences gained during the transition period in the 1990s. The Ukrainian participants had the opportunity to meet with representatives of Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry, Office of the Government and other Czech security-related institutions as well as NGO experts in this field. The program focused inter alia on issues such as the coordination of security policy in the Czech Republic, army reform, Czech Integrated Rescue System and Integration into Western Security Community

The program was organized by Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) with the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic


Czech Experience & Ukrainian Perspectives: Security System Reform in the Czech Republic (2005)

On June 6-10, 2005, PSSI, in cooperation with Jagello 2000: the Czech Euro-Atlantic Council, organized a program for civil service and NGO representatives from Ukraine. Experiences gained during the Czech transition period in the 1990s were shared by former as well as current governmental officials and leading security experts with young civil service professionals and NGO representatives in Ukraine.

This project was made possible by the generous support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.