Ukraine officials contend that Russian cyberattacks could constitute war crimes

Ukrainian officials are investigating Russian cyberattacks as potential war crimes, gathering evidence to potentially charge Russia at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The cyber chief argues that since cyberattacks support military actions against Ukraine, they should be considered war crimes against the country and its citizens. Collaborative military-cyber attacks by Russia have caused significant damage, leading to a call for international consideration and response to cyber campaigns.

Ukraine is considering whether some Russian cyberattacks targeting its critical infrastructure could fall under war crimes, a Ukrainian cyber official told Politico. The official counted that Ukrainian experts are gathering digital evidence for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to potentially bring charges against Russia.

Victor Zhora, Ukraine’s chief of cybersecurity operations at Ukraine’s communications security authority SSSCIP, contended that since Russia is using cyberattacks to support its military operations against Ukraine, the cyberattacks should also be considered war crimes against Ukraine and its citizens.

Zora cited the incident from the previous year and the attack on DTEK, the largest private energy investor in Ukraine, as an illustration of the collaboration between military and cyber operations. Zora said that the physical attacks and the cyberattacks took place simultaneously, damaging DTEK’s infrastructure and network. Similar collaborations have taken place throughout Ukraine, where the coordination of kinetic strikes and cyberattacks by the Russian military resulted in the destruction of data services, IT infrastructure, electrical grids, telecommunications, and key infrastructure, added Zora.

Ukraine’s chief of cybersecurity operations concluded that the international community should weigh the impact of cyber campaigns and how to address them.