The European Union sent a letter to the United Nations on Friday demanding it publish a report on damage to telecommunication infrastructure in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion seven months ago.
Back in April, members of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union passed a resolution agreeing to support war-ravaged Ukraine in the rebuilding of its telecom sector.
The text also decided to “carry out an assessment on the impact of the war in Ukraine to ITU programmes and activities in the region, and provide a report thereon.”
A few months later, in July, ITU posted an update on its website, saying that its “assessment report was “coming soon”, but despite indications that the report was ready, the EU lamented Friday that it had “not been made available yet.”
In that July update, the ITU said that “at least 3.7 thousand base stations of mobile operators on the temporarily occupied and occupied territories do not work.”
At the same time, it warned, “worsening mobile broadband access loss is observed in at least in 1,297 settlements of Ukraine.”
And 20 television centres were reported or confirmed to have been destroyed to some degree, while more than 50 settlements had no terrestrial television and radio service due to destruction and lack of energy supply.
Meanwhile, just in the first four months of the war, 796 cyber-attacks against Ukraine were reported, it said.
In a letter to the ITU, seen by AFP, the EU pointed out that the resolution calling for a full report on the situation had been co-sponsored by 46 countries from all regions, stressing the urgency of publishing it.
The letter, signed by the EU’s ambassador in Geneva Lotte Knudsen and Vaclav Balek, ambassador of the Czech Republic, which holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, was addressed to ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao of China.
“As Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine continues, marked by targeted attacks on critical telecommunication infrastructure, failures of telecoms services and outages of the mobile networks, the ITU assessment of concrete damages and particular needs of Ukraine in the field of telecommunications is crucial for enabling interested delegations to make informed decisions with regard to their commitments towards assistance to Ukraine,” the letter read.
“In light of the above, we would like to express our strong call for the publication of the Assessment report and of any other document related to the assistance to Ukraine at the earliest convenience,” it said.
It called for the report to be released in time for the ITU’s so-called Plenipotentiary Conference, set to kick off in Bucharest on Monday and last until October 14.
That event will include the election of the organisation’s next chief, with two candidates — American Doreen Bogdan-Martin against Russian Rashid Ismailov — in the running.