State pledges $8 million to Ukraine for cybersecurity assistance

The State Department on Tuesday announced that the U.S. would give Ukraine $8 million in cybersecurity assistance funds as part of a “cyber dialogue” held in Kyiv between officials from the two countries.

The $8 million will go toward funding a new cybersecurity project sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with the project setting a goal of eventually investing $38 million over the next four years in boosting Ukraine’s cybersecurity capabilities, such as through cyber workforce development and regulatory reforms. 

The U.S. previously gave Ukraine $10 million in cybersecurity assistance funds in 2017 as part of the first U.S.-Ukraine cyber dialogue summit, with officials from the two countries meeting again in 2018 to review cybersecurity projects between the two countries.

The State Department said in a statement on Tuesday that the most recent cyber dialogue was meant reaffirm “our shared commitment to ensure an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure cyberspace in which all states behave responsibly.”

American officials who participated in the cybersecurity dialogue included Joseph Pennington, the acting deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, officials from the FBI, and officials from the Defense, Energy, Homeland Security and Treasury departments.

The officials also discussed cybersecurity issues including strengthening critical infrastructure against cyberattacks, 5G network security, and cyber incident response plans.

The new funds were given two months after Ukrainian authorities asked the FBI to assist in investigating an attack on Ukrainian gas company Burisma by Russian military hackers.

Burisma has been in the spotlight in recent months due to the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, which began after an anonymous whistleblower report alleged that Trump had tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who served on the company’s board between 2014 and 2019. 

Ukraine has also long been seen as a test bed for Russian hackers, particularly in the wake of geopolitical tensions between the two countries in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Tags cybersecurity Donald Trump Joe Biden State Department Ukraine

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