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Advertorial: in association with Palantir

Ukraine has a vision for its future, rooted in technology 

Beyond the war, Ukraine’s government has a clear vision for digital transformation.

By Inga Kolba and Ishraq Irteza

With brutal tank warfare, entrenchment and the extensive use of heavy artillery, Ukraine’s battlefield echoes past land wars fought across the European continent. And yet, as Ukraine defends itself against a traditional military force, the embattled nation has also displayed a combination of heroism, ingenuity and 21st-century technology that is new – both on the battlefield and in civilian life, as Ukrainians continue to go about their lives against the backdrop of the conflict.

This reality is borne not just of recent necessity, but of a longer-standing vision for how technology can support effective government, well-being and security. The Ukrainian government’s flagship application, Diia, illustrates this vision. An initiative conceived in peacetime to facilitate public service delivery, Diia has now digitised a large proportion of citizen-state interactions. The app’s development has continued against the backdrop of war, with Ukrainians using it to report Russian troop movements, make donations to the armed forces, and seek financial assistance for war damages.

Diia is just one initiative that demonstrates Ukraine’s progress towards becoming a European technology powerhouse. Many of these have been led by the 32-year old deputy prime minister and minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, and his Ministry of Digital Transformation (MDT).

MDT was established in 2019 with the intention of creating “the world’s most accessible government”. Since the beginning of the conflict the MDT has proved to be an important cog in Ukraine’s defences, with other initiatives including UNITED24 (a platform for crowdfunding munitions), BRAVE1 (an incubator aiming to get innovation from lab to battlefield in weeks) and Mriia (an education platform), among others.

This is transformation in the fast lane, achieved not through incremental changes and multi-year roadmaps, but by focusing on the most important problems and using the best tools available.

Palantir is committed to supporting this bold vision. Through a partnership launched earlier this year, we are working with the MDT to explore a range of ways in which technology can support future prosperity. Already the MDT is using our Foundry software to optimise reconstruction efforts.

But Ukraine’s future prosperity cannot rely solely on reconstruction, it also requires that justice be served. That is why Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) is using our software to investigate Russian war crimes. With almost 80,000 registered alleged offences so far, this is a daunting undertaking. Our Foundry and Gotham platforms are helping OPG work through the vast amounts of relevant evidence, and ensure both the integrity of the cases being prosecuted and the protection of witnesses and victims.

This work follows earlier engagements focused on refugee resettlement. At a time when other technology firms were pulling out of Russia, where Palantir never had a presence, our software was being used to match Ukrainian refugees to volunteer hosts, safely and securely. In the United Kingdom, Foundry has served as the technology platform for the Homes for Ukraine programme, used to resettle over 130,000 refugees. It separately enabled similar programmes in Poland and Lithuania.

Ukraine’s track record in technology illustrates how, beyond the war, these refugees will return to a Ukraine that has crucial ingredients for long-term prosperity – a highly skilled workforce, innovative start-ups, and a bold plan that more than matches up to the government’s ambition.

We must not lose sight of the present. Ukraine’s greatest task is to safeguard its independence and protect its citizens from Russian aggression. Yet amid the grim reality of war, the government’s vision for Ukraine’s future, and its determination to deliver for its citizens, should give hope to us all.

[See also: Ukraine is the front line of “the world’s first cyberwar”]