European Resilience Initiative Center
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About Us

Our Mission

The European Resilience Initiative Center’s mission is to strengthen democracy in Europe, while promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the European countries. The Center seeks a stronger role of Central and Eastern Europe in a wider European region with a view to improving its economic prosperity and political strength. We are dedicated to facilitating engagement of European countries in fruitful cooperation and to translating national narratives into cross-border cooperation projects.

Our Team & Contributors
Sergej Sumlenny

Founder & Managing Director

Sergej Sumlenny is an expert in Eastern Europe. In 2015-2021, he worked as the director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Bureau in Kyiv. Prior to moving to Ukraine, Mr. Sumlenny worked in a business consultancy. He has a PhD in political science and an LL.M in European Law from the Free University of Berlin. Mr. Sumlenny founded the European Resilience Initiative Centre (ERIC) in 2022 amid the Russo-Ukrainian war.


To contact Sergej, email at sumlenny [at]

Sascha E. Ostanina


Sascha E. Ostanina is a political and security risk analyst with a focus on Russia and the Eastern Partnership countries. She currently works as an EU foreign and security policy fellow at Hertie School's Jacques Delors Centre. Prior to joining the Jacques Delors Centre, Sascha worked as an external political and security risk analyst with the international consulting company S&P Global and as a security consultant with the International Atomic Energy Agency.


To contact Sascha, email at ostanina [at]

Aaron Gasch Burnett

Non-Resident Security Policy Fellow

Aaron Gasch Burnett is a German-Canadian journalist and analyst specialising in both German politics and international security. He has published extensively on both German and Canadian policy for supporting Ukraine. He also co-hosts the BerlinsideOut podcast on German foreign policy, in association with the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).


To contact Aaron, email at projects [at]

Gustav Gressel

Research Fellow

Dr. Gustav Gressel is a senior policy fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations in Berlin. Dr. Gressel also worked as a desk officer for international security policy and strategy in the Bureau for Security Policy of the Austrian Ministry of Defence from 2006 to 2014 and as a research fellow of the Commissioner for Strategic Studies with the Austrian MoD from 2003 to 2006. Prior to his academic career, he served five years in the Austrian Armed Forces.


To contact Gustav, email at projects [at]

Jahara Franky Matisek

Non-Resident Research Fellow

Prof. Jahara ‘FRANKY’ Matisek is a US Air Force command pilot serving as a Military Professor at the US Naval War College. Previously he was an Associate Professor at the US Air Force Academy and was a Fellow with the Irregular Warfare Initiative, Modern War Institute, and Homeland Defense Institute. FRANKY has a PhD in Political Science and has published 2 books and over 100 articles on warfare, strategy, and military assistance.


To contact Franky, email at projects [at]

William Reno

Non-Resident Research Fellow

Prof. William Reno is a conflict studies expert with over three decades of fieldwork in combat zones across Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He has published 3 books and over 200 articles on conflict, civil wars, asymmetrical warfare, and the politics of security assistance. Will is the Professor and Chair of Political Science at Northwestern University and was previously a Fellow with the Modern War Institute.


To contact Will, email at projects [at]

Marcus Welsch


Marcus Welsch works as a data analyst in Berlin. As a film director and journalist, he has spent the last 10 years intensively studying the effects of Russian policy towards Ukraine and its impact on the German debate. Since 2022, his work has focused on evaluating OSINT reports on Russia's war against Ukraine.

To contact Markus, email at projects [at]

Adrian Mendoza Strilciuc

Projects Manager

Adrian Mendoza Strilciuc is a rising professional in the field of international security. Adrian also works as an analyst at Accenture Poland and is a senior fellow at the Centre for Youth and International Studies. He has a master’s degree at the Hertie School in Germany and has conducted investigations on Russian disinformation operations.


To contact Adrian, email at projects [at]

Serhiy Danylov


Serhiy Danylov is a deputy director of the Ukrainaian Association of Middle East Studies (AMES). In 2014, he co-foudned a non-governmental organization Peacekeeping School with a view to finding means of reconciliation in Donbas. His personal research focus lays in Kherson region. 

Nataliia Druhak


Nataliia Druhak is an international communication expert. Since 2020, she has been working in the field of public and cultural diplomacy, including for such organisations as Ukrainian Institute and Nataliia currently studies Social and Economic Communication at the University of Arts in Berlin. She is also a Heinrich-Böll-Foundation scholarship holder. 

Alina Frolova


Alina Frolova is a Deputy Chairperson at the Center for Defense Strategies in Ukraine. She was a Deputy Minister of Defence of Ukraine (2019–2020), Adviser to the Ministry of Defence (2015–2016), Adviser to the Ministry of Information Policy (2016–2018). She is also a founder of the «Invictus Games Team Ukraine Project», Stratcom.UA, and UCMC

Ben Hodges


Lt.Gen. (Ret) Ben Hodges is former Commanding General of US Army Europe. He is a Senior Advisor to Human Rights First, a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization. He served in Iraq in 2003-2004 and 2005-2006, and in Afghanistan in 2009-2010.

Oksana Mikheieva


Prof. Oksana Mikheieva is a guest researcher at the German DAAD, Europa University Viadrina in Frankfurt on the Oder, and a professor of sociology at the Ukrainian Catholic University. 

Dmytro Natalukha


Dmytro Natalukha is a member of Ukraine's parliament and a Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee. Before he was elected to the Parliament in 2019, he worked on the field of strategic communications, banking, and investment. Natalukha holds LL.M and BA in International Law from Taras Shevchenko Kyiv University, and MPhil in International Politics and Relations from the University of Cambridge. 

David Plaster


David Plaster is a former US Army Combat medic. Since 2013 he has been operating 'Anomaly', a Ukrainian-based NGO, that provides medical training and supplies to civilians and soldiers across Ukraine.

Ihor Semyvolos


Ihor Semyvolos is an Executive Director at the Ukrainaian Association of Middle East Studies (AMES). He is an expert in reconciliation, and is a founder of the Ukrainian Peacebuilding School NGO project, which has been working in Donbas since 2014.

Maksym Vikhrov


Maksym Vikhrov is an independent journalist and publicist based in Kyiv. He is the author of the book "Wild East: An Essay on the History and Present of Donbas" (2018). Former editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian Week magazine.

Yulia Ziskina


Yuliya Ziskina is an attorney and senior legal fellow at Razom for Ukraine. She specializes in financial enforcement and public international law, was a fellow at the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency and the U.S. Department of Justice, and a former prosecutor at the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She has published widely on seizing Russian state assets for Ukraine, including testimony in U.S. Congress and at the Council of Europe. 

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