As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensifies, the war-torn country has asked internet governing organizations to kick off Russia from the World Wide Web (WWW) and revoke Russia’s top-level domains (TLD).
Ukrainian ministers have written to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to revoke, permanently or temporarily, the domains “.ru”, “.NN,” and ace.su”.
This list is not exhaustive and may also include other domains issued in the Russian Federation. Also, shut down DNS (Domain Name Servers) root servers situated in the Russian Federation, – said Andrii Nabok, Ukrainian representative for ICANN.
The Internet is a global network of shared standards and protocols and the Domain Name Server (DNS)provides the master address list for all web resources.
“These atrocious crimes have been made possible mainly due to the Russian propaganda machinery using websites continuously spreading disinformation, hate speech, promoting violence and hiding the truth regarding the war in Ukraine,” Nabok said.
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Ukrainian IT infrastructure has undergone numerous attacks from the Russian side impeding citizens’ and government’s ability to communicate.
Moreover, it’s becoming clear that this aggression could spread much further around the globe as the Russian Federation puts the nuclear deterrent on ‘special alert’ and threatens both Sweden and Finland with ‘military and political consequences’ if these states join NATO, – he added.
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation has also asked that RIPE NCC, the regional Internet registry for Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Central Asia, to withdraw Russia and its Local Internet Registries (LIR) rights to use their assigned IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and to block their DNS root servers, reports ZDNet.
If ICANN and RIPE NCC agree to “shut down Russia’s DNS root servers,” it would be extremely disruptive.
However, the Internet’s governing organizations seem unlikely to act.
Paul Twomey, former ICANN President, and CEO said in a tweet: “Keeping the protocol layer operating in Russia is the best way to ensure that sites carrying diverse views to Russian audiences are effective.”
Dr Erich Schweighofer, a European Commission Principal Administrator said that removing Russia from the Internet “does not help supporting the civil society in this country for a democratic change”.
“ICANN is a neutral platform, not taking a position in this conflict but allowing States to act accordingly, e.g. blocking all traffic from a particular state,” he added.