Russia has caused at least $1.79 billion worth of damage to Ukraine’s telecoms infrastructure since the start of its invasion of the country, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
First reported by Reuters, the UN’s ITU said Ukraine will need at least that figure to restore its telecommunications sector to pre-war levels, alleging Russia had "destroyed completely or seized" networks in parts of the country.
The report was commissioned in April to assess the extent of the destruction of Ukraine's communication networks as a result of Russia's invasion last February.
Though only covering the first six months of the war, the report found that there was considerable damage and destruction to communications infrastructure in more than 10 out of 24 regions of Ukraine.
“Since the beginning of military attacks, with the purpose of using the facilities in its interests and for its own needs, the aggressor either destroyed completely or seized the regular operation of public and private terrestrial telecommunication and critical infrastructure in the temporarily occupied and war-affected territories of Ukraine,” the report said.
It's estimated ‘three out of seven operators providing mobile communication services and 961 out of 4,482 fixed Internet service providers of Ukraine are under occupation’ according to the report. As of July 2022, 12.2 percent of homes lost access to mobile communications services (3.1 percent partially) and 11 percent of base stations of mobile operators were out of service, while 20 percent of the country’s telecommunication infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, with ‘direct damage’ of telecommunications facilities, networks, systems and equipment was estimated at $710 million.
An official with the Russian diplomatic mission in Geneva dismissed the report's allegations, saying they were designed to divert attention from unspecified "atrocities" committed by Ukraine on Russian-occupied territory.
The ITU has not publicly commented on the report, which was quietly released last month.
ITU told Reuters the report was published on December 23 "after it was judged complete by the management,” and added that the outcomes of its assessment would help mobilize technical assistance for Ukraine.
The report also alleges that Russia unilaterally switched Ukrainian dialing codes, fixed by the UN agency, to Russian ones, and that there had been 1,123 cyber attacks against Ukraine.