On 1 April, Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Mikko Kinnunen will become the Foreign Ministry’s first Ambassador for Hybrid Affairs.
Mikko Kinnunen transfers to the new position from the Foreign Ministry’s Unit for Security Policy and Crisis Management, where he has served as Director of Unit.
“From the perspective of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, hybrid issues can be related to foreign and security policy, legal and commercial matters, strategic communications, also international cyber security cooperation, for example. In other words, in practice they can be linked with any or all of the activities that the Ministry and its missions abroad are engaged in,” Kinnunen says.
The Ambassador for Hybrid Affairs will build up the Foreign Ministry’s expertise in hybrid issues and help raise Finland’s profile on these issues with the international arena. The Ambassador will work in close cooperation with different authorities in Finland and support their involvement in international cooperation. The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which was established in Helsinki last year, is naturally a key partner for the new Ambassador.
Hybrid warfare and the use of influence-seeking hybrid methods have attracted wide attention both in Finland and internationally. Finland, too, is a target of hybrid attacks and activities, and it has strengthened its capacity to detect and respond to hybrid threats.
“Hybrid methods are a new way of seeking to influence our security, and we must respond to these effectively,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini.
Dealing with hybrid issues is part of the work of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the network of Finnish missions abroad. This can involve detecting the use of hybrid attacks and activities targeting Finland, tackling these and taking part in international cooperation on hybrid issues.
Mikko Kinnunen has extensive experience of security policy and matters related to Russia and the former Soviet area. He has served as Finland’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and worked in the Embassies of Finland in Moscow and Washington and the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN in New York.