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Microsoft expands aid to Ukraine’s wartime tech innovation

Lisbon, Portugal — Ukraine is counting on more Western tech support as its war with Russia drags on, with Microsoft pledging on Thursday to extend support for Kyiv’s ‘extraordinary’ wartime innovation until the end of the war. next year.

Microsoft’s financial commitment of more than $400 million enables the Ukrainian government and other organizations to continue using the Microsoft cloud and its public data centers across Europe, the company’s chairman announced, Brad Smith at the annual Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

Amazon has also helped Ukraine with cloud storage, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian deputy prime minister and minister of digital transformation, said at the conference.

Cloud technology provides resilience and security to Ukrainian operations, Smith said, after Russia targeted Ukrainian data centers with airstrikes during its invasion more than eight months ago.

Prior to the February 24 invasion, Ukraine had a law prohibiting government agencies from using the cloud, requiring data to be stored locally. In March, the government repealed this law.

The invasion sparked “extraordinary innovation” from the Ukrainian military, Smith said.

Ukraine and Russia are waging “a new type of warfare”, with cyber weapons and other types of digital technologies playing a central role, he said.

The artificial intelligence deployed by Kyiv, for example, detects and thwarts Russian cyberattacks “in the blink of an eye”, according to Smith.

Microsoft has played a significant role in helping Ukraine with data migration as well as helping to protect its digital infrastructure from Russian wiper and phishing attacks.

Microsoft is also working with the US military on AI and image recognition.

Ukraine and Russia are engaged in “a technological war”, according to Fedorov, the Ukrainian government official.

“This war is completely different from anything that came before it,” Fedorov said. “This war against a powerful enemy is the most technologically advanced war in the history of mankind.”

Fedorov, also appearing with Smith at a press conference, highlighted the Ukrainian-developed Delta real-time combat management system. The situational awareness platform integrates enemy information from various sensors and sources, including AI and drones, onto a digital map.

AI has even more potential in warfare, Fedorov said, while the “enormous role” drones have played, including patrolling frontlines that stretch for hundreds of kilometers (miles) , is still being expanded.

Fedorov said underwater vehicles to protect Ukraine’s Black Sea coast are also being developed.

He asked conference attendees for help in finding innovative solutions for heating homes this winter after Russian attacks in recent weeks damaged 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure.


Frank Bajak contributed to this report from Boston.


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