The battle intensifies to keep Ukraine in line

The Ukrainian government has stepped up its efforts to keep people connected to the internet while Russian invaders attempt to destroy the communications infrastructure that keeps it going.

Ukrainian armed forces have taken control of civilian communications infrastructure in areas where they are fighting against the invading Russian army. Elsewhere, Ukrainian security services and civil administrations have become dependent on mobile communications to mobilize the country’s response to Russian attacks.

Russian forces have attempted to dismantle cellphone cellular communication towers in towns they have taken, according to Ukrainian state sources. Meanwhile, Russian artillery fire destroyed network cables and disrupted communications in entire towns and regions. Ukrainian engineers came out when the shelling ceased to carry out repairs and restore services.

The Unsung Heroes

Alla Struchaieva, chief executive of MaxNet DC, an internet service provider that operates one of Europe’s major internet communications exchanges in Karkhiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, where intense Russian bombardment has driven most of its 1.8 million residents, some of its engineers said had chosen to stay to operate the data center.

Struchaieva said Knowledge of the data center that she had helped their families to flee regions of Ukraine who were still safe from bombardment.

“Our guys are coming out to fix the network despite it being life threatening,” she wrote via a secure Telegram chat connection. “It’s incredibly difficult. The shooting and shelling continues for days in Kharkiv.”

“We have to work. A lot depends on it now. We are not just a data center. We are a telecommunications operator. Internet, telephone and television,” she said.

On Tuesday, when it seemed safe to get out after last week’s bombing in central Kharkiv, MaxNet engineers were mending torn internet cables that had interrupted communications in their data center and surrounding streets.

They took photos and videos of the bombed-out street where they carried out the repairs outside the city council administration, showing how a beautiful metropolitan boulevard, Myronosytska Street, had been transformed into an apocalyptic scene.

The engineering team repaired the network cables between the manhole covers, where the fire had fused them. He restored about a third of the network, Struchaieva said. Now they were trying to figure out where they needed to repair. MaxNet suspended services for non-Ukrainians.

Marc Ballard

26 Mryonosytska St., Kharkiv – March 8, 2022

The destroyed building next to them was the site of Ukrainian Host, one of the largest web hosts in the country, with a group of government and corporate customers. It has other data centers, according to its website. The Ukrainian Host website was still working this week. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Struchaieva joined refugees fleeing the city that day, as her home was destroyed, along with her parents’ home.

“We had thirteen days without electricity, without heating. Eight days without water, making water with snow. Five days without food. But the main thing is that we are alive.

“We got in our car and drove through Russia, because we couldn’t go through Kharkiv. My husband drove the car like a robot for 28 hours nonstop,” she said.

The car was stopped and the family was questioned by Russia’s Federal Security Service, the infamous FSB, she said. They took her phone, which she had erased.

“We pray for Ukraine and the whole world because this horrible war has affected us all,” she said.

Stay connected

Dmitry Deineka, general manager of another hosting company with a bombed-out data center in Karhkiv, said Knowledge of the data center last week that there were still six support technicians and engineers, in shelters with their families.

“Some of my colleagues managed to get to western Ukraine. Others, my relatives, are planning to leave the city. We have to help them,” he said from his base in Bulgaria.

“Today’s strike on the city was 500 meters from one of our nodes and a kilometer from the data center. As long as there is power, connectivity and the systems of cooling will not be damaged, I hope the site will be online, but I have no illusions, it can stop at any time.

“But I believe we will push them back behind a new iron curtain. We have a very motivated army and our local civil defence. I am angry,” he said.

Ukraine’s government agencies started working with telcos and local authorities this week to run IFrom Internet cables to basements that people had turned into bomb shelters, in cities under Russian attack in the south, east and north of the country.

The state is trying to keep Ukrainians connected to government services and keeping them informed about the war; youhEast Is an information war many like it’s a physical. The Russians were spreading propaganda in the areas they had occupied, to persuade the Ukrainians to give in to their domination, the Ukrainian armed forces said today.

The executive of a telecommunications provider helping to get internet connections to bomb shelters, who asked not to be named, said many residents were using the basements of apartment buildings that already had internet connections. To make a connection to the basement, all they had to do was run an Ethernet cable.

“It’s like connecting an apartment,” he said. For shelters under buildings without a connection, the local network provider with the closest connection point carried out the work of laying the cable from the outside.

“In Ukraine, five to ten suppliers operate in each city,” he said. “So it’s not that difficult.”

In Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, the local authority built a website whereby residents could request a connection to their air raid shelter. This has build a mobile phone application who showed residents maps of places to get things like food and medicine. It was also solicit resident feedback through the app.

Ukrainian security services used mobile phone apps, a chatbot, email and secure messaging via WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal, to request reports Russian troop movements, and collect evidence of potential war crimes which could be used to organize prosecutions against Russian forces under international law.

Strategic importance

Jhis week, once again, seen a struggle between Russian attempts to destroy the communications infrastructure and Ukrainian attempts to repair it.

The Russian damage had severed the main lines of communication to the towns they had occupied, the Ukrainian State Special Communications Service said in a press release. Mobile phone network operators were trying to rebuild services in Kharkiv. They had restored services to Chernihiv, a northern town which, like Kharkiv, had been heavily bombarded. Communications from Kiev had been partially cut and then restored. Remarkably, three mobile phone operators had almost completely restored services in Kherson, a Russian-held city in the south. Engineers were working to restore services in other occupied towns.

Three quarters of Ukraine IInternet nodes were still working, the agency said. But the war has caused $100 billion in damage to Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and shut down half of its businesses, according to one of the Ukrainian President’s advisers. The government has asked people to ration their cell phone useDue to the network damage. Since the Russians had destroyed the Ukrainian television broadcast towers, the government had managed to send television signals by satellite and mobile networks.

Meanwhile, Russia has summer Assembly intense cyberattacks on Ukrainian government web services and infrastructure, according to security agencies. Ukraine responded by lobbying for penalty be taxed on Russia at International Telecomcommunications Union, the international organization through which countries agree on terms of cooperation in communications.

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