The war in Ukraine is “really a technology war,” Mykhailo Fedorov, the country’s deputy prime minister and minister of digital transformation, said Thursday as Microsoft announced an expansion of its tech support for the beleaguered country.
Speaking at a press conference at the Web Summit in Lisbon, he said he had been made aware of blackouts at home and added that he believed this represented a Russian attack on energy infrastructure, highlighting the role of technology in war .
It was the centerpiece of this year’s tech event – heralded as Europe’s largest – in which Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska drew attention to its destructive use against civilians in a speech to attendees on Tuesday night.
After Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the first attacks were on data centers in Ukraine, Fyodorov said.
The minister, who visited the army of Ukraine at the beginning of the war, also told reporters at the press conference that one of the demands of a military commander at the front was for 3D printers.
As the war enters its eighth month, attacks are taking place not only on the battlefield, but also on critical infrastructure such as water supplies.
Cybersecurity is also a major concern as it has become important to protect those systems from attacks.
“Today, technologies support our economy and also the battlefield in the field of artificial intelligence and drones,” said Fedorov.
Technology companies have expressed their support to Ukraine in the field of cybersecurity and protection of citizens.
Microsoft’s continued support for Ukraine
Microsoft is one such company that does this. The company’s vice president and president, Brad Smith, announced an additional $100 million (€102 million) aid package to support the technology in Ukraine through 2023 at a press conference.
The package will provide support to government, critical infrastructure and other sectors that Ukrainian citizens can continue to serve through Microsoft Cloud.
The move brings the company’s total aid to the country to more than $400 million (€410 million) since the invasion of Russia began in February.
“The digital alliance that supports Ukraine must remain strong,” Smith said.
“By distributing digital infrastructure to the public cloud, Microsoft and others have supported critical Ukrainian services.
“It has played a key role in protecting the resilience and security of Ukraine’s data and digital services, even in the face of Russian cruise missiles and other kinetic attacks against the Ukrainian government’s data centers and other physical assets.”
Elon Musk’s Starlink has also provided satellite communications support to Ukraine. However, Musk has previously indicated that he may not continue with aid to Ukraine.
When asked about Starlink, Federov said: “We don’t see any problem [at present],
“We use different satellite communications equipment and work with other companies.”
He said one of the reasons he came to the Web Summit was to talk to other communications companies.
Fedorov said, “We want to measure solutions … communication is key.”