Ukraine’s Digital Minister Waging Cyber Warfare from Secret Bunker

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s youngest cabinet minister, has been using cyber warfare as part of his efforts to combat the Russian invasion.

From a secret Kiev-based underground bunker, Fedorov has been urging high-ranking social media executives to sever Russia from their multinational services.

Digital minister Fedorov has also set up an “IT Army of Ukraine” campaign in the hopes of recruiting volunteers willing to fight the country’s “enemy” with cyber attacks.

The 31-year-old Fedorov, renowned for conducting much of his governmental role through a smartphone, had been working on a “state in a smartphone” project before the war, which would see 100% of government services offered online.

That goal has of course now been sidelined, however, as the war – both on land, air, and within the digital realm – continues, with no clear end in sight.

From Fedorov’s bunker, he has been sending official government letters to every multinational titan of industry under the sun, including the likes of Google, Apple, YouTube, Twitter, Meta and Microsoft.

While it’s unknown whether this practise influenced any of the corporations’ subsequent decisions, the fact that Fedorov also posted the letters on social media for the world to see, suggests a high-pressure motive on his part.

And maybe – considering his Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Telegram accounts have a collective total of 500,000+ followers – it paid off.

Many of the recipients have now changed their service policies toward Russia, either by ceasing to sell their products in the country, such as in Apple’s case, or by halting operations altogether.

PayPal recently announced that it was suspending services in Russia, while Samsung and Nvidia have also stopped selling their products.

The most rapid response perhaps came from tech tycoon Elon Musk, who, just two days after being tweeted by Fedorov, adjusted his constellation of Starlink satellites and sent a lorry-load of internet-ready terminals headed for Ukraine.

With Ukraine’s internet/telecommunication networks becoming increasingly impaired or knocked out by missile-led attacks, Starlink’s service offers a potential lifeline – it could, however, also become the target of similar attacks by Russian forces.

Fedorov, with his massive social media following, is a man who clearly understands how instrumental social media can be in geopolitical communications – and now warfare.

“Each platform is very important to us and we are using every opportunity to attract large companies to this horror happening now in Ukraine,” Fedorov explained to the BBC via email.

Fedorov, who pre-invasion mainly spoke in Ukrainian on Twitter, has since begun communicating in English, a language that appears to be attracting a larger audience and overall impact.

“We are trying to bring the truth to the Russians and make them protest against the war,” Fedorov continued. “Twitter has become an efficient tool that we are using to counter Russian military aggression. It’s our smart and peaceful tool to destroy Russian economy.”


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