Estonia raises the issue of cybersecurity for the first time at the UN Security Council

On 5 March, at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Estonia, the United States and the United Kingdom condemned the extensive cyberattacks on Georgia in October 2019; it was the first time cyberattacks were officially discussed as a separate issue at the Security Council.

“The aim of the cyber operation organised by the Russian military intelligence service – the GRU – was to discredit Georgia and create confusion. It is yet another example of irresponsible behaviour and violation of stability in cyberspace by Russia,” the Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, said in a statement.

“Raising this issue today at the Security Council table is historic and shows that behaviour undermining the stability of cyberspace is not ignored. As an elected member of the Security Council, one of the objectives of Estonia is to raise awareness among members of the effects of cyber operations and the validity of previously agreed international norms of behaviour.”

“We are convinced that the Security Council must deal with new issues that threaten international peace and security and are only gradually making their way to the agenda of the Security Council,” Reinsalu added.

Russia’s wider and intensifying hybrid and influence activities

On 20 February 2020, Estonia, the US, the UK and 20 other like-minded countries attributed the cyberattacks against Georgia’s government and media to the military intelligence service of the Russian Federation.

Estonia considers the cyberattacks a part of Russia’s wider and intensifying hybrid and influence activities against Georgia, which include conducting illegal elections on occupied territories, the significant deterioration of the situation on the administrative line of control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and intensified disinformation campaigns.

Estonia was elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council on 7 June 2019 for 2020-2021. The country started its membership on 1 January 2020.

Cover: The United Nations Security Council’s hall in New York City (Wikipedia).

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