Amid Russian invasion, Ukraine granted formal role with NATO cyber hub

Members of NATO’s cyber center of excellence this week voted unanimously to allow Ukraine to participate in its ongoing work.

Ukraine was granted the formal role of “contributing participant” to the hub, known as the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), by its 27-member steering committee, the organization announced

The designation’s approval comes as officials in Kyiv, and Washington, brace for Russian cyberattacks as Moscow’s invasion of the former Soviet satellite state escalates.

“Ukraine’s presence in the Centre will enhance the exchange of cyber expertise, between Ukraine and CCDCOE member nations,” Col. Jaak Tarien, the institution’s director, said in a statement. 

The country could also provide “valuable first-hand knowledge of several adversaries within the cyber domain to be used for research, exercises and training,” he added, alluding to Ukraine’s recent past as a testbed for Russia hacks.

Ukraine requested contributing participant status to the center — based in Tallinn, Estonia — last year but was denied. The center’s website lists the non-alliance countries of Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland as contributing participants.

“Capability and knowledge comes from experience, and Ukraine definitely has valuable experience from previous cyber-attacks to provide significant value to the NATO CCDCOE,” according to Estonian Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet.

He said his country — which has also been the target of malicious Russian activity, including a weeks-long denial of service attacks against Estonian public and private sector organizations — has been a “long-term partner for Ukraine in enhancing its cybersecurity capacity and cyber resilience … We welcome the decision of the members of CCDCOE agreeing to Ukraine’s membership.”

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak

is the senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. Prior to joining Recorded Future News in 2021, he spent more than five years at Politico, where he covered digital and national security developments across Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He previously was a reporter at The Hill, National Journal Group and Inside Washington Publishers.