Although many major Western companies left Russia after the invasion of Ukraine in February, private sector aid to victims of the attack has been slow to get started.
( Trends shows that, after peaking in February, the number of searches for “Ukraine war” declined steadily, despite minor bumps in September and October. GOOGL)
In March, tech giant Microsoft
( has completely halted new product sales in Russia and pledged $35 million to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine — both directly to help refugees who had to flee during the invasion, and the $18 million in Microsoft technology intended to improve logistics to facilitate the organization of aid. MSFT)
But even as the immediate stream of attention shifted, the situation in Ukraine has steadily worsened in the nine months since the large-scale invasion.
With more than $100 billion in damage, the war has destroyed more than 30% of the country’s infrastructure, while the United Nations estimates that more than 11 million Ukrainians (more than a quarter of the country) are displaced, both in Ukraine and in neighboring European countries.
Microsoft just pledged more help to Ukraine
Many Ukrainian cities are also under constant shelling – since October, the fighting has claimed more than 15,000 confirmed civilian lives. The actual death toll is likely much higher, given the total destruction of Mariupol by Russia, a city of more than 400,000 inhabitants.
As the situation worsens on the ground, Microsoft renewed its promise to provide free technical support to the people of the country through 2023 and pledged just under $100 million in additional funding.
“Ukraine’s continued defense depends in part on a critical digital alliance of countries, businesses and nonprofits,” President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post announcing the new funding commitment. “By investing digital infrastructure in the public cloud, Microsoft and others have supported critical Ukrainian services through data centers across Europe.”
The Bill Gates-founded company has announced new funding rounds several times since February — the latest bringing the total amount donated by Microsoft to more than $400 million.
The latest funding was announced at Web Summit, a major technology conference taking place in Lisbon. Ukrainian government officials said the digital aid will go a long way to help the country fend off cyberattacks by Russia — earlier this week, the British government announced it had also worked with Ukraine to counter some recent attacks on its governmental offices.
An important step towards the war effort
The UK has also pledged a £6 million (about $6.7 million USD) aid package for those purposes. Microsoft also said some of the money will go directly to improving cybersecurity.
“Such an important contribution to our victory by securing critical infrastructure and providing us with a cloud,” said Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation,
wrote on a Twitter ( after. “Thank you, TWTR) @BradSmi.”
The pledge also comes at a time in the war when Russia is attacking many of the critical points of Ukraine’s power and water infrastructure to destroy resistance to invasions from a winter energy crisis.
While the US government pledged $2.98 billion in aid at the end of August, some tech companies have stepped in specifically to help in this aspect.
“We recognize that many people, especially across Europe, will be making sacrifices this winter to support the defense of Ukraine,” Smith wrote. “[…] We are confident that other tech companies will come forward in the same way to maintain support that is vital not only to Ukraine, but also to international stability and the protection of fundamental rights across Europe and the world.