A Ukrainian government representative has delivered a powerful speech at ICANN 73, calling on ICANN, the community, and the domain name industry to do more to help the war-ravaged country.

Speaking at the opening plenary session of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee, Ukraine representative Andrii Nabok gave his personal account of coming under Russian fire at his home near Kyiv, and praised the “heroic” efforts of ISPs and local ccTLD registry Hostmaster in keeping the internet functional for many Ukrainians.

He went on to condemn the invasion in the strongest terms, calling the Russian Federation “the empire of evil, the terrorist state number one, the fascist of the 21st century”.

Nabok welcomed ICANN’s offer of $1 million to aid with connectivity, saying that Ukraine is in need of satellite terminals, but questioned ICANN’s decision to refuse the country’s request to disconnect .ru from the DNS root.

He went on to call for the domain industry to contribute to anti-Russian sanctions, and questioned whether it is still appropriate for ICANN to have a Russian as one of its DNSSEC “trusted community representative” key-holders.

His speech was followed by prepared expressions of solidarity from the UK, France, the European Union, Switzerland, Australia, the US, Canada, Burkina Faso, Argentina, and Burundi.

Russia took the floor briefly to say that it does not believe ICANN is a suitable forum to discuss “political issues”.

No government echoed Ukraine’s call for ICANN to use its DNS root management powers to sanction Russia, with most expressing support for the Org’s neutrality and the multi-stakeholder model.

I’m going to publish Nabok’s entire speech here, taken from the official transcript with only minor formatting edits. Recordings of the session can be found on its web page (registration required).

“One world, one Internet.” This slogan in our opinion is wonderful. Multistakeholder model, a community-based, consensus-driven approach to policymaking, this model is great. Ukraine admires both the slogan and this model. Ukraine believes both in this slogan and this model. The Ukrainian government showed its support for them in its numerous actions and statements before.

On February 24th at 5:00 am, my family woke up from explosions. We saw a little fire and smoke in the window. Our city near Kyiv was shelled by rockets. I cannot put into words the feeling when you have to explain to your seven-year-old daughter that we urgently need to leave home to save our lives. In a few minutes, my friends from all parts of Ukraine confirmed that there had been missile strikes in the whole country. At once, all the values you lived with yesterday cease to exist, and now the main task is to save our families, relatives, and friends.

So Russian missiles attacked Ukraine. Putin said it is a special military operation in the territory of independent country. Putin said the goal is demilitarization and denazification to ensure the security of Russia. Security of the largest country in the world with the most enormous nuclear potential seems to be defending itself against [inaudible] without nuclear weapons.

Logic has left our chat. Today is the 12th day of the war. Not some operation, but a war. A war in Europe, undeclared Russian war on Ukraine. It is the 12th day of Russian bombing in our peaceful Ukrainian cities and even villages, schools, kindergartens, maternity clinics, even nuclear stations. But Putin’s blitzkrieg became blitz failure. The whole world admires the courage of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, on social media, in private messages, on TV. Unfortunately, thousand Ukrainians have been killed, including 38 children.

Millions of Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes. Many of you sent us many words of support, sheltered us, and helped our army. Many thanks to you. Many of you understood that the real goal of Kremlin and Russian dictatorship is to destroy freedom, peace and human rights, right to life, right to dignity, right to freedom, and right to Internet.

Last year our team carried out a large state infrastructure project for deploying fiber optics networks in the most remote villages of our country. According to our last data, we had the highest level of coverage of high-capacity networks among all the European countries. About 97% of the Ukrainian population had the opportunity to connect to Internet based on fiber optic technologies.

Those settlements where the Russian army enters are cut off from the Internet. For example, in one of the villages where my relatives live, there are currently several thousand Russians. As soon as they captured the village, they immediately cut the optical cable and shot at the mobile operator’s base station with a machine gun. People are now cut off from the world.

Today is the 12th day of destroying Ukrainian Internet infrastructure by Russian bombs. Our heroic ISPs rebuild it under fire, risking their lives to save communications for people. Thanks to our heroic ISPs and Elon Musk’s support, people in bomb shelters still have a chance to know whether their relatives are safe or not, whether they are alive, or unfortunately, no more.

Our cybersecurity is also under threat. Thanks to heroic efforts, the .UA domain is stable. All services have been moved to backup positions and function independently from the Ukrainian infrastructure. Hostmaster LLC strengthened Anycast secondaries to prevent possible attacks on domain service.

“ICANN has been built to ensure that the Internet works, not for its coordination role to be used to stop it from working.”

I fully support these words of Göran Marby, ICANN CEO. But I would like to ask you, will it be okay for you if Internet is working for all except Ukrainians? Just because Russian assassins will kill Ukrainians. Of course, this is an apocalyptic scenario that will not be implemented. Ukrainians will not allow this. Ukraine has already received invaluable support from nearly all ICANN constituencies and at individual level. We are grateful for your help in strengthening the cybersecurity of .UA as well as other items of our critical infrastructure. We welcome the decision of ICANN Board to allocate an initial sum of 1 million US dollars to be used to provide financial assistance to support access to Internet infrastructure in emergency situations.

It will be great to spend a part of this sum to buy more Starlinks for Ukrainian Internet users. Of course, ICANN cannot close the sky over Ukraine, but I would like to ask all of you to appeal to your governments to protect Ukraine, and the infrastructure of the Internet for that matter, from the barbaric actions of Putin’s Russia. We fully support ICANN’s commitment to ensure a single and global Internet. Moreover, we have already asked to limit the Kremlin’s influence on our common free digital space since the national Russian peculiarities of Internet governance are known worldwide. Kremlin wants and will be happy to get the sovereign Internet, and they will get it by destroying “one world, one Internet” if we do not unite against such threats.

On March 11th, Russia will completely disconnect from the global Internet but the Russian representative will retain his role as one of the 12 holders of the DNSSEC root key. Are you serious? That is why we call on ICANN community, IANA, registrars and registries and the vendors who make the Internet free and available for everyone on the Earth to join the enforcement to the sanctions of the civilized world recently imposed on Kremlin, Russian companies and individuals. Do not allow them to use the Internet as a cyber battlefield against fundamental human rights and do not allow them to attack critical infrastructure for bloody warfare.

We also call on public and private entities to make steps in technological exodus from the Russian Federation, the empire of evil, the terrorist state number one, the fascist of 21st century. Last person out turns off the lights. I hope it will not be ICANN.

Thank you, dear community, for your support. We believe that you are also on the side of freedom and light.

The post Ukraine’s emotional plea to ICANN 73 first appeared on Domain Incite.

Original article: Ukraine’s emotional plea to ICANN 73

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