Derzhspetszviazok signs memorandum with Huawei and later removes all references to it

On October 15, the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (Derzhspetszviazok, or SSSCIP) and Huawei Ukraine signed a memorandum of cooperation in the fields of cybersecurity, cyber defense, and telecommunications. This was reported to AIN.UA by Huawei Ukraine.

On the next day, October 16, Derzhspetszviazok removed all information concerning the partnership with Huawei Ukraine from its website and all its social media.

AIN.UA’s editorial office describes what exactly the parties agreed upon and explains the reasons for the attempted removal of the references to the memorandum.

The information removal

On October 16, Derzhspetszviazok published a press release announcing the signing of the memorandum of cooperation with Huawei Ukraine on its website.

“The SSSCIP will be happy to collaborate with a world-class company on information security projects. I am sure that our partnership will strengthen our cyber defense capabilities,” the agency says, as cited by Ukrinform.

But by 2:30 PM on October 16, Economichna Pravda noted that the SSSCIP had begun removing the references to its partnership with Huawei. Any mentions of the memorandum disappeared from the websites, the official Facebook page, and the Twitter account of Derzhspetszviazok.

There are no notices about the signing of the memorandum on Huawei Ukraine’s website either, although almost immediately after the signing, the company sent out press releases and published a post on social media. The post is still available on the company’s Facebook page.

This post remains the only mention of the signing of the memorandum that has not been deleted.

The unapproved memorandum

Let us recall that the USA and the United Kingdom have accused Huawei of spying and collecting confidential information using its equipment and have banned the use of Huawei equipment in 5G network deployment as posing a threat to national security.

Many countries, including Ukraine’s overseas partners and EU member states, are refraining from installing Huawei equipment, or at least starting to diversify their equipment suppliers.

According to Yevropeiska Pravda, the cooperation of the SSSCIP of Ukraine with a sanctioned for espionage company could have raised questions from our Western partners.

“The Western partners paid attention to the news and, in informal conversations, were expressing surprise at the Ukrainian party’s choice of priorities,” the magazine comments, citing its own sources.

NV Business’s sources in the know about the national security situation explain that the memorandum can drive a wedge between Ukraine and the US and adversely impact the cooperation between the two countries in the field of cybersecurity.

“Huawei is sanctioned by the USA. This alone should be enough to make the government communications agency think twice before choosing partners,” suggests the spokesman for the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, Andriy Baranovych, known by the user name Sean Townsend.

Derzhspetszviazok and Huawei do not comment on the situation

AIN.UA requested comments from the press office of the SSSCIP, but, by the time of the publication of the article, had not received any explication.

Huawei Ukraine agreed to comment but only noted that it values the experience exchange between itself, the Ukrainian government, and the telecommunications community, without elaborating on the signing of the memorandum.

“We find it valuable to exchange with the Ukrainian government and the telecommunication community the experience and expertise in the field of the certification and quality of the telecommunications equipment (such as NESAS), which is widely accepted by the European Union and its member states. Huawei will continue the exchange of experiences for the advancement of cybersecurity in Ukraine. We will further maintain the principles of openness and transparency,” said the representatives of Huawei Ukraine in their commentary to AIN.UA.