Mr. Christian Kaufmann
Chairman of the Executive Board
The Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre
1012 AB Amsterdam
Ref. № 203
d/d November 29, 2018
Disconnecting “Donetsk Public Respublic” Based Sanction-Designated Entities from the Internet
Dear Chairman Titley:
By this letter, Internet Association of Ukraine (“InAU”) calls upon the Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (“RIPE NCC”) to publicly clarify its work in Russian and Ukrainian territory, including occupied by Russians and Russian-backed terrorists organisations, especially so-called “Donetsk Public Republic” (“DPR”) and to:
- Terminate its relationship with and deny any DPR entity or person that has been sanction-designated by the United States, the European Union and/or the United Nations access to and revoke previously assigned internet number resources, including Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses and Autonomous System Numbers (“ASNs”);
- Terminate its relationship and deny RIPE NCC access and membership to all sanction-designated entities and persons, including DPR based entities, and;
- Terminate its relationship and deny database services, technical services and information services to sanction-designated DPR entities and persons and registrants that service sanction-designated DPR entities and persons.
As you know, the worldwide web enables people around the globe to communicate with each other through unique assigned web names and numbers. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN coordinates the Domain Name System (DNS), Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root server system management functions.
As a department of ICANN, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (“IANA”) allocates and maintains unique codes and numbering systems that are used in the technical standards (‘protocols’) that drive the Internet. As part of its work, IANA coordinates the global pool of IP and AS numbers, providing them to Regional Internet Registries (RIR).
RIPE NCC serves as the RIR for Russia, Ukraine (including occupied territories, DPR), and its coverage extends to Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia and provides Internet resource allocations, registration services and coordination activities that support the operation of the Internet globally. Internet resource allocation is distributed in a hierarchical manner. This means that IANA delegates large ranges of Internet number resources to the RIRs, which then allocate the resources within their regions to members, Local Internet Registries, National Internet Registries, and end-users.
RIRs serve as the primary means for access to the worldwide web for Internet Service
Providers (“ISPs”), telecommunication organizations and end-users within particular regions.
Any person or entity within the area covered by the RIPE NCC – including DPR territory – that has
registered for an Internet domain name, utilizes RIPE NCC’s services.
According to the NRO and your website, the RIPE NCC manages the .ua country code for
Ukraine, .ru for Russia, and supports thousands of Local Internet Registries (“LIRs”) that offer services in Ukraine and Russia. An DPR LIR is a conduit for promoting and facilitating these
activities, and in total they comprise the sole systemic means for DPR to access the global
European Union Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/392 of 12 March 2018 amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, has position
Date of listing
So-called ‘Donetsk People's Republic’
‘Донецкая народная республика’
‘Donétskaya naródnaya respúblika’
Official information, including the Constitution of Donetsk People's Republic and the composition of the Supreme Council
The so-called ‘Donetsk People's Republic’ was declared on 7 April 2014.
Responsible for organising the illegal referendum on 11 May 2014. Declaration of independence on 12 May 2014.
On 24 May 2014, the so-called ‘People's Republics’ of Donetsk and Lugansk signed an agreement on the creation of the so-called ‘Federal State of Novorossiya’.
This is in breach of Ukrainian constitutional law, and, as a consequence, of international law, thus undermining the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
It is also involved in the recruitment to illegal armed separatist groups, thus threatening the stability or security of Ukraine.
Registrant or registrar in the region, including those that provide services to DPR sanction-designed entities and persons by the U.S., EU and UN, would be able to acquire IP addresses and ASNs (collectively “Unique Internet Identifiers”) without RIPE NCC. It is the key provider on which DPR and the region wholly depends upon for access to the Internet. Unfortunately, RIPE NCC and the Unique Internet Identifiers that it provides are misused by the sanction-designated DPR entities and persons to facilitate their illicit operations, activities and communications including support for DPR’s illegal armed groups, threating stability and security of Ukraine, censorship of the Internet and other communication access, and the use of tracking technology to monitor, torture and kill Ukrainian civil people and police forces. These IP addresses and ASNs are used for hosting DPR “goverment” sites, electronic documents turnover, illegal armed people support.
Prominent sanction-designated DPR entities have acquired Unique Internet Identifiers from the RIPE NCC. For example: DPR State Republic Operator of Networks G.O. ORG-ROON1-RIPE (126.96.36.199/22, AS204108), Ugletelecom - State Telecommunications Agency of DPR ORG-DPR2-RIPE (188.8.131.52/21, AS39089).
These sanction-designated entities could not gain Internet access without the RIPE NCC. In no way should ICANN, IANA and RIPE NCC permit such misuse of their web services and Unique Internet Identifiers. During her remarks at George Washington University in February 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the Internet could:
[E]nable wrongdoing on an unprecedented scale. Terrorists and extremist groups use the Internet to recruit members, and plot and carry out attacks. Human traffickers use the Internet to find and lure new victims into modern-day slavery. Child pornographers use the Internet to exploit children. Hackers break into financial institutions, cell phone networks, and personal email accounts. So we need successful strategies for combatting these threats and more...
Simply put, the RIPE NCC should not provide the internet communications means that the DPR terrorists misuses to censor and deny Internet freedoms to its people. Absent access to the RIPE NCC, the sanction-designated DPR would be severely impeded in pursuing its illegal activities. For each day that the RIPE NCC knowingly continues to provide DPR sanction-designated persons and entities access to the worldwide web, the RIPE NCC will be increasingly complicit in the DPR and Russian terrorists nefarious behavior. The RIPE NCC must stop transacting with such entities and persons and deny them access to Unique Web Identifiers, and therefore, the worldwide web. The U.S., EU and UN have enacted a series of sweeping sanctions against Russian aggression and especially sanction-designated DPR. Yet during this period of international consensus and increasing global isolation of Russia, numerous Russian sanctioned entities continue to acquire and have access to Unique Web Identifiers through the RIPE NCC.
The RIPE NCC should responsibly end all RIPE NCC business and access to Unique Web Identifiers to any U.S., EU or UN Russian sanction-designated entity or person. As explained below, the RIPE NCC is in violation of law for its provision of services and access to its network to sanction-designated entities and persons. Please immediately cease and desist from providing RIPE NCC access to these entities and persons.
Such action is immediately necessary because the RIPE NCC’s activities in Russia and Ukraine with sanction-designated entities and persons violate various sanctions laws including EU law. The RIPE NCC is headquartered in Amsterdam and is directly governed by the laws of the EU. The EU maintains a list of designated parties that are considered to be, among other things, involved in Russian aggression and Crimea occupation. In violation of EU law, the RIPE NCC provides key telecommunication services to such entities and persons. The RIPE NCC is indeed providing crucial services to prohibited entities. Clearly, the RIPE NCC’s provision of the essential means of access to the internet runs afoul of such laws and regulations.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,
Chairman of the Executive Board
Internet Association of Ukraine