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Professor Emeritus William Banks Writes an Op-Ed Article on the Role of NATO in Cyberattacks and the Russian War in Ukraine

Posted on Thursday 8/18/2022
Professor Emiritus William Banks

Professor Emeritus William Banks published an op-ed article in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs about “Cyberattacks and the Russian War in Ukraine: The Role of NATO and Risks of Escalation.”

The Russian war against Ukraine has so far included only occasional and incidental cyberattacks. Banks believes that as Russia’s losses in the conventional war mount and the impact of sanctions and Western military aid to Ukraine take a toll, Russia may escalate cyber intrusions even in NATO States in retaliation for their support of Ukraine. International law provides unclear guardrails for cyber conflict, and the potential for NATO involvement in an escalatory conflict with Russia is growing. 

“As the escalatory dynamics evolve, there is a clear legal basis for NATO using cyber or other means in support of Ukraine,” Banks explains. “Because Russia has attacked Ukraine, if Ukraine authorities request NATO participation in the collective self-defense of Ukraine, the use of force in response to Russian armed attacks comports with international law.”