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House passes bill aimed at boosting cyber cooperation with Ukraine

House passes bill aimed at boosting cyber cooperation with Ukraine
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House lawmakers on Wednesday passed legislation aimed at deepening cooperation on cybersecurity between the United States and Ukraine. 

The bill would encourage the State Department to take a number of steps to help Ukraine improve the cybersecurity of its government and critical services.

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The bill passed overwhelmingly in a 404-3 vote Wednesday evening. 

The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) and has attracted a slate of bipartisan co-sponsors. 

Specifically, the bill expresses the sense of Congress that the State Department should provide support to Ukraine to shore up the cybersecurity of its government networks and critical infrastructure, help Kiev reduce its reliance on Russian technology and help the country improve and expand its information sharing efforts.

The legislation would also trigger a State Department report on the status of the U.S. government’s cooperation with Ukraine that would explore new areas for collaboration.

The bill’s path forward in the upper chamber is uncertain. Currently, there is no companion legislation being offered in the Senate. 

Hacking threats to critical infrastructure have attracted focus on Capitol Hill following cyberattacks that took down portions of Ukraine’s power grid in 2015 and 2016. There are broad suspicions that Russia had a hand in the attacks.