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Microsoft pledges $100 mn to Ukraine ‘digital alliance’

Microsoft will give Ukraine an additional $100 million of technology support to strengthen a “digital alliance” protecting the country, the firm’s vice chairman said on Thursday.

Brad Smith said Ukraine would be able to use Microsoft’s cloud services and data centres across Europe during the entire 2023.

He told a news conference on the sidelines of the annual Web Summit tech meeting in Lisbon that Microsoft’s total commitment to Ukraine was now $400 million.

Ukraine has put technology at the centre of its war effort, stressing the importance of cybersecurity and the centrality of online services from education to health.

“Part of what this war has shown is that one needs to move services to the cloud in a time of war to ensure their resilience and security,” said Smith.

He said the new commitment would “enable the government and other businesses in Ukraine to continue to run their services and serve Ukraine citizens”.

He said Microsoft was happy to be involved in “a digital alliance of countries and companies and nonprofits standing together to support Ukraine”.

Smith was speaking alongside Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, who laid out the details of a plan he announced earlier this year for Ukraine to become the world’s most digital country.

Ukraine has solicited the help of big tech firms in its efforts to defend its borders against Russia’s invasion, and secured a donation of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet systems earlier this year.

However, Musk suggested recently that he would not continue to support the donation.

Fedorov told the news conference there was “no problem with the system”, adding: “Everything is OK.”