The U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine announced a $5 million assistance package to strengthen Ukrainian cyber security efforts during the nation’s first bilateral dialogue on cyber security on Sept. 29 in Kyiv.
Delegations from both nations met last week to discuss strengthening Ukraine’s ability to protect its critical infrastructure and military systems, and affirmed a commitment to helps its ally prevent future cyber attacks.
Ukraine faces continued cyber threats from Russian state-actors, especially following the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and a continued presence from pro-Russian separatist forces.
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke at a George Washington University cyber event last week and argued the U.S. could better support its ally by combatting the Russian disinformation campaign and testing our counter-electronic warfare capabilities in eastern Ukraine.
“The Russians have been able to convince some people that there is a separatist movement in eastern Ukraine. It’s not a separatist movement. It is a Russian invasion of a sovereign nation. They annexed Crimea, which is in the southern part of Ukraine. They invaded eastern Ukraine in the Donbass region. They have 920 tanks there. And they’re utilizing the latest and greatest in electronic warfare, and we should be countering that,” said Hurd. “This is a real opportunity where we should be testing some of our capabilities, and we’re not doing it to the level where we should.”
Hurd believes the opportunity would also allow the U.S. to test the viability of a Cyber Joint Special Operations Command.
The U.S. delegation was led by Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for International Cybersecurity Policy Joshua Steinman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy Robert Strayer, and Deputy Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the Department of State Michele Markoff, and included representatives from the FBI and federal agencies.
The Ukrainian delegation at the dialogue was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko and included representatives from the National Bank of Ukraine, Ministry of Defense, National Security and Defense Council, State Security Services of Ukraine, State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.