Statement at UNSC high-level open debate on addressing evolving threats in cyberspace

UN Security Council High-Level Open Debate on Addressing Evolving Threats in Cyberspace

Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Rein Tammsaar, Permanent Representative of Estonia

20 June 2024, New York


We welcome today’s exchange of views and thank the briefers for their valuable insight. Estonia aligns with the Statement to be delivered by the European Union.


We cannot ignore the increasing sophistication and damage caused by malicious cyber incidents carried out by both State and non-State actors. With high profile targets, such as critical infrastructure, financial institutions and democratic processes, cross-border nature of the incidents as well as increasing capacities, cyberattacks are able to cause higher and higher damages. Therefore, cyber security is clearly part of both national and international security challenges. And preventing and mitigating such threats are our priority.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has highlighted how cyber operations are intertwined with kinetic warfare. We have witnessed how Ukrainian critical infrastructure is targeted by Russia in violation of the International Humanitarian Law. Russia’s actions have underscored the need to focus on the comprehensive approach to national defence and internal security. In order to strengthen Ukraine’s readiness and resistance to cyberattacks, Estonia has actively supported Ukraine in cyber domain bilaterally as well as through the Tallinn Mechanism and IT-Coalition – cyber security platforms for both civilian and military assistance.

We are deeply concerned by the latest news from Pyongyang suggesting DPRK’s military cooperation with Russia has been further enhanced in gross violation of the corresponding UNSC resolutions. Estonia strongly condemns ongoing DPRK’s malicious cyber activities which aim to fuel DPRK’s weapons programme, destabilise regional security and threaten global peace.


The UN framework of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace builds upon existing international law. International law, in particular the UN Charter, the law of State responsibility, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, fully applies to cyber operations. We need to work together to uphold international law and ensure adherence to it also in cyberspace. In order to support the implementation of the framework of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, Estonia advocates for the establishment of an inclusive and action-oriented Programme of Action as a single permanent structure after the end of the current Open Ended Working Group in 2025.


Open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment cannot be taken for granted and is not separate from the physical world. While Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has showcased the integrated nature of cyberattacks and the kinetic warfare, we believe that this will be a pattern used also in future conflicts. Therefore, the Security Council has a substantial role to play in serving as a venue for sharing information on existing and future cyber threats, as well as raising awareness on the strategic implications of cyber security, which Estonia underlined already during our UN Security Council tenure.

For this reason, Estonia commends the Republic of Korea for holding the current discussion in this chamber where it belongs. Open discussions on cyber security such as this, will be essential for supporting the enhancement of domestic, regional and global cyber resilience by contributing to the prevention as well as mitigation of cyber conflicts.

Thank you.