KYIV. May 26 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine has begun discussing a possibility of refusing to use Chinese-made equipment by Ukrainian telecom operators, Head of the Information Security Department of the Information Security and Cybersecurity Service of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Volodymyr Zverev said at a conference “Ukraine: Resilience of Communications and the Internet During War.”
“Now, it is a discussion stage, it is important because there are risks, and our decision-making is based on risk-oriented discussions. I think it is very correct that there is a discussion, so we are waiting,” Zverev said.
In his opinion, restrictions on the use of Chinese telecom equipment will mostly affect those operators that work with state-owned networks and/or are connected to public structures.
“But you need to calculate all this and see how it will affect the result. Therefore, there may be options when more stringent requirements will be applied to operators that work with state-owned networks or are connected to public institutions,” Zverev said.
Director of the Fixed-Line Internet Development Department at the Ministry of Digital Transformation Yuriy Matsyk also confirmed that the ministry had received a request from the National Security and Defense Council regarding a possible ban on Chinese equipment initiated by the parliamentary committee. According to him, two ways are possible: a ban on the purchase of new equipment with the right to use existing equipment and a requirement to replace existing Chinese-made equipment.
“We need to understand how much it will cost, and who will be able to finance it because these are huge resources,” the representative of the Ministry of Digital Transformation said, commenting on the second option. According to him, the replacement of already operating telecom equipment will cost more than $1 billion.
He also said that in fact, at every meeting with Europeans and Americans discussing the provision of assistance to Ukraine, the question “What about the equipment of Chinese manufacturers?” arises.
“They do not say whether it is possible or not but for some reason they have recently begun to ask about it more and more often. Accordingly, if this question is being heard, it means that this issue worries people. Accordingly, the National Security and Defense Council has the question how to deal with this and what to do,” Matsyk said.
In an interview with dev.ua on Friday, he said that the equipment of the Chinese state-owned ZTE and private Huawei in some mobile operators account for about 70% of the equipment, or maybe even more.