UN reports says Ukraine will need at least $1.79 billion to restore telecommunications sector

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A United Nations agency said in a report that Ukraine would need at least $1.79 billion to restore its telecommunications sector, destroyed or completely seized in some parts of the country by Russia, Reuters reported.

The assessment by the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was commissioned in April to determine the extent of destruction to Ukraine’s communication networks since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February.

The report found that communications infrastructure in 10 out of 24 Ukrainian oblasts had suffered considerable damage in the first six months of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

“Since the beginning of military attacks, with the purpose of using the facilities in its interests and for its own needs, the aggressor either destroyed completely or seized the regular operation of public and private terrestrial telecommunication and critical infrastructure in the temporarily occupied and war-affected territories of Ukraine,” the report said, Reuters reported. 

The report also says that Russia unilaterally switched Ukrainian dialing codes, which are fixed by the UN agency, to Russian ones and that there had been 1,123 cyber attacks against Ukraine, according to the Reuters article. 

The report was published in late December and was not highly publicized. According to Reuters, Western diplomats privately expressed frustration concerning delays to the report’s publication. 

In a letter seen by Reuters, in September, the EU wrote to then ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao calling for the report’s release. Zhao responded by saying that the assessment was still underway, Reuters reported.

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