Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, H.E. Mr. Pavlo Klimkin, at the UNSC Open Debate on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure against Terrorist Attacks

Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, H.E. Mr. Pavlo Klimkin, at the UNSC Open Debate on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure against Terrorist Attacks

(13 February 2017)

I will now make a statement in my national capacity.

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank today’s briefers for their inputs to our discussion. They reconfirmed once again the complexity and importance of the problem in question.

The protection of critical infrastructure is vital to national security, public safety and the economic development of all States. Terrorist attacks on these facilities and services can significantly disrupt the functioning of societies and bring about massive human suffering.

I would also like to express my appreciation to all Council members for your support in the process of preparing the text of the draft resolution that was adopted today.

This resolution sends a strong message from the Security Council to the international community to give serious consideration to this issue.

It also outlines a specific framework of objectives and actions aimed at raising awareness of possible terrorist threats to critical infrastructure. It does this by identifying the threats and preventing them as well as alleviating their possible consequences.

It is crucial for States, as part of their essential counterterrorism effort, to develop and put in place a strategy that assigns relevant tasks and responsibilities to protect critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks.

Its primary goals should be to counter such attacks, prevent their repetition by identifying the perpetrators and their supporters as well as providing support to victims of terrorism.

In view of the existing challenges to international peace and security, especially the evolution of terrorist threats, Ukraine has been working to develop a national legal framework for the protection of critical infrastructure against such threats. This work has become particularly important taking into account a series of terrorist attacks in recent years against facilities in Ukraine.

Since 2015, several Ukrainian governmental agencies as well as critical national infrastructure such as regional power grids and financial institutions, have become targets of attacks by malicious software.

Unknown hacker groups also attacked Kyiv airport and the Ministry of Defence’s electronic resources. On 6 December 2016, the web-sites of the State Treasury, Ministry of Finance and State Pension Fund, were temporarily paralyzed on the eve of the end of the 2016 financial year.

We know the objective of these attacks. It is to knock down Ukraine’s financial system, weaken our defence capabilities and eventually, to destabilize Ukrainian society. It is quite obvious that Ukraine has been deliberately selected as a target of organized external cyber-terrorists, and their attacks can be as devastating as more conventional warfare. We’ve been hurt but, as a result, have grown more resilient.

In today’s dynamic and globalized world, we are of the view that the following elements should be incorporated into national policies aimed at maintaining an adequate level of safety and resilience for critical infrastructure:

· Cooperation among all stakeholders, both public and private, involved in the process of operating and protecting critical infrastructure;

· Open exchange of information about threats and risks to critical infrastructure among public authorities, private sector, communities and individual citizens;

· Increasing the level of self-protection, mutual assistance, and self-empowerment of individuals and organizations that can be adversely impacted by termination or impairment of critical infrastructure services.

Apart from the listed above factors, a coherent system, aimed at averting the terrorist threat to critical infrastructure, should prioritize active international cooperation, which would include, inter alia, exchange of best practices, conducting joint trainings and investigations.

Such international cooperation is gaining paramount importance taking into account the development of global cross-border infrastructure projects. Terrorist attacks against these objects may affect the interests of several states, and cause significant damage, both economic and environmental.

In this context, our goal must be to intensify cooperation at national, regional and international levels and to establish early warning and rapid response mechanisms to better react to possible terrorist attacks.

Though, while seeking to safeguard the most vulnerable parts of our critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks, we should never forget that it is the lives of our citizens that are at stake which we as States are obliged to protect.

Therefore, it is our duty to do everything possible to prevent terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure.

The wellbeing of our peoples depends on it.

This is the main objective of the resolution that we adopted today.

As a Latin proverb says [praemonitus praemunitus]forewarned is forearmed“.

I count on your further cooperation in this matter.