- Amazon has been supporting Ukraine since the country was invaded by Russia in February.
- In one initiative, Amazon sent suitcase-sized computer drives to back up critical data to the cloud.
- So far, 10 million gigabytes of Ukrainian state and economic data have been saved.
Since the invasion by Russia in February, Amazon has been an unlikely hero to the Ukrainian people, donating medical supplies, food, toys and investing $75 million in cloud-based backups of key government data, the company said in a statement. .
Using suitcase-sized solid-state hard drives called Snowball Edge units shipped into Ukraine across the Polish border, Amazon has helped back up critical infrastructure and economic information since the day Russia launched its invasion.
“This is the most technologically advanced war in human history,” Mykhailo Fedorov, 31, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and digital transformation minister, told The Los Angeles Times, adding that Amazon Web Services’ “management made a decision that . saved the government and economy of Ukraine.”
So far, more than 10 million gigabytes of Ukrainian government and economic data have been preserved, including “27 Ukrainian ministries, 18 Ukrainian universities, the largest K–12 distance learning school (serving hundreds of thousands of displaced children) and dozens of other private sector companies,” Amazon said in a statement.
On February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Liam Maxwell, director of government transformation at Amazon Web Services, met with Ukrainian Ambassador Vadim Prystaiko to discuss how the company could help Ukraine. The pair quickly developed a plan to rescue the country’s most important data.
While it’s unclear whether Amazon has previously helped other countries with such data transfers, Maxwell told The Los Angeles Times that several countries in East Asia have since inquired about cloud backups of their government data outside the country.
On November 29, Fedorov and Maxwell signed a memorandum agreeing to continue cooperation until 2023.
“AWS made the biggest contribution to Ukraine’s victory by providing the Ukrainian government with access and resources to move to the cloud and secure critical information,” Fedorov said at the signing.
In July, Amazon won the Ukrainian Peace Prize for its work helping the invaded country back up key files in the cloud. While most data is transferred to the cloud over secure networks, Snowball Edge units, still loaded with terabytes of critical information, are then sent to Amazon to complete storage and data transfer.
“It’s a tense moment around the baggage carousel,” Maxwell said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “Here is the government in a box, literally.”
With valuable drives and uploaded data securely stored, critical information about Ukraine’s economy, tax and banking systems, and property is prevented from theft and intentional damage as a result of Russian intrusions.
“You can’t take out a cloud with a cruise missile,” The Los Angeles Times reported Maxwell.
Additional companies, including FedEx, The Clorox Company and Microsoft, have also supported the war in Ukraine through direct financial donations or offering special services and suspending business in Russia. Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship reported more than 50 companies that have followed suit.
Representatives of Amazon and President Zelensky’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s comments.