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Ukrainian Telecom Workers Damage Own Equipment to Thwart Russia

  • Moscow is trying to seize control of Ukrainian internet
  • Telecom service says it won’t help troops access data flows
Daily life in Vinnitsa, Ukraine

Photographer: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images 

Employees at one of Ukraine’s leading internet and phone providers decided to sabotage equipment rather than hand control to Russia in occupied territories, according to the company’s chief executive officer.

Yuriy Kurmaz, CEO of Ukrtelecom, said Russian forces attempted to seize parts of his telecom’s network by using a combination of hacking and physical intimidation. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Kurmaz said his employees had faced threats and in some cases been imprisoned by Russian personnel in occupied parts of southern and eastern Ukraine, as Moscow has sought to establish control over data and communications in the region.