Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by representative of the Russian Federation Ms.Nadezhda Sokolova at UNSC Arria meeting "Cyber security evolving cyberthreat landscape and its implications for the maintenance of international peace and security"


We thank Deputy High Representative for Disarmament Affairs A.Ebo and UNIDIR Director R.Geiss for the briefings. We also closely followed the remarks by civil society representative, Ms.Valerie Kennedy.

Russia stood at the origin of the discussion on issues of international information security (IIS) at the United Nations. We first raised this topic in the General Assembly back in 1998. 26 years ago, Russia introduced the first draft resolution on this matter, which then transferred on an annual basis. At Russia's initiative, security issues with regard to the use of ICTs were discussed first within the framework of the specialized UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) and then in the inclusive format of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), which functions today under the able chairmanship of Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations.

The OEWG is the unique integrated negotiation platform under the auspices of the United Nations for discussing IIS issues. Within its framework all member states can participate on an equal footing in the discussion and adoption of consensus decisions on various aspects of its mandate.

This being said, we do not quite see the added value of discussing the problems of international information security on UNSC platform. We believe it counterproductive to duplicate the efforts of international community and to spread this topic across various UN tracks. The big question that remains unresolved to this day is which cases of the malicious use of information and communications technologies can be confidently attributed to direct threats to international peace and security.

We are convinced that the international community should focus on continuing to strengthen inter-state cooperation within the framework of the OEWG in order to achieve concrete, practical results in ensuring international information security. We welcome the agreement on an initiative to establish a global intergovernmental Points of Contact Directory on the basis of an idea proposed by the Russian Federation. We believe that it is fundamentally important to consolidate and develop the results achieved by the OEWG, i.a. within the framework of the future negotiating format, which should also be determined by the OEWG. Russia has already presented its vision of a permanent inclusive mechanism in this area.

Russia’s priority is the formation of universal legally binding instruments for information security, which will contribute to the prevention of interstate conflicts in this area. In 2023 Russia submitted to the United Nations General Assembly a prototype of a specialized international treaty – the concept of a convention on ensuring international information security. We invite all member states to engage in a substantive discussion based on our proposal.

The attempts by Western colleagues and their allies to accuse of malicious activities involving ICTs and use it as leverage against "undesirable" states, including the DPRK, are of the utmost concern. There is no convincing evidence to back up this claim.

The Panel of Experts of the UNSC Committee 1718 on the DPRK has repeatedly served as a tool in this unscrupulous game. Prompted by a certain state, the Panel repeatedly approached the Russian side regarding computer attacks attributed to Pyongyang against Russian institutions. But as soon as we requested precise data necessary for the investigation of the alleged incidents – the exact time, IP addresses, server capacities, coordinates of hardware’s location, the experts replied that they had not received additional information from their "source".

Esteemed colleagues,

It clearly points to the fact that this Panel of Experts, which is so highly praised by a number of colleagues, failed in its duties and, in fact, was engaged in collecting and replicating low-quality, politically biased rumors from dubious sources. For example, against the backdrop of a significant escalation on the Korean Peninsula due to increased military activity by the US and its NATO allies, the Panel of Experts analyzed (through newspaper headlines) such a “crucial” aspect for maintaining international peace and security as origins of women’s handbags. And today, we are offered to accept the findings of this Panel in the field of ICT security as the ultimate truth. This is not serious.

We have repeatedly explained our position on the PoE mandate renewal, as well as our general position regarding the need for a serious discussion on the North Korean sanctions regime. Unfortunately, our Western colleagues have confirmed their unwillingness to discuss real steps towards a just settlement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

We strongly reject any speculation that Russia is allegedly encouraging malicious activities in the information space. That is simply absurd. For a quarter of a century, Russia has been advocating the prevention of the militarization of information space. We started doing this long before Western countries even recognized the existence of such a risk. It is Russia who has been proposing all these years to make legally binding agreements to prevent conflicts in this sphere. Western countries, above all the United States, have rejected this idea and continue to reject it, seeking to retain a "free hand" for themselves.

The hypocrisy of our Western colleagues is particularly evident against the fact that high-ranking US officials admit to launching offensive operations against Russia using ICTs, and also consolidate "offensive" (and in fact aggressive) approaches in the Washington’s and NATO’s doctrines.

It is unacceptable to throw at states unilateral and unsubstantiated insinuations of "aggressive" and "hostile" actions in the information space are unacceptable. Attribution of responsibility, as our Chinese colleagues have observed today, requires a professional approach and the provision of comprehensive technical evidence – an understanding first enshrined in the report of the specialized GGE in 2013. This cannot be achieved without de-anonymizing the information space and establishing fair and transparent mechanisms for identifying the sources of computer attacks. However, this is hindered primarily by the developers of ICTs in Western countries under the pretext of protecting freedom of speech. At the same time, this freedom is restricted or simply violated by their own competent agencies in conjunction with the organization by the American authorities of global programs of "cyber espionage" and manipulation of information flows through the use of the potential of IT corporations. No matter how much our American colleagues would like to erase Edward Snowden's revelations from public memory, the world remembers them well.

One must not forget that the United States and its allies resisted the creation of a specialized OEWG back in the day, and then simply began to "poke sticks into spokes" by suggesting competing negotiating platforms where Western countries would play "first fiddle", e.g. the Program of Action to advance responsible behavior of states in the use of ICTs.

Attempts to dilute the global discussion on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes are also alarming. The Counter Ransomware Initiative that was mentioned today is a prime example. Such "clubs for a select few", which are not particularly secretive, undermine the efforts of UN Member States to develop universal mechanisms to combat the use of ICTs for criminal purposes, in particular through the specialized Ad Hoc Committee.

Esteemed colleagues,

Russia sticks to a constructive position in the discussion of international information security. We will continue to uphold the principles of creating a peaceful and secure ICT environment on a global scale. We call on all constructive-minded states to support these efforts within the framework of the OEWG on ICTs as a single negotiating platform, including after the end of the mandate of the current Group in 2025.

Thank you.

Video of the statement