Ukraine parlays SES telecom deal into closer ties with Luxembourg

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SES satellites now carry 65 percent of all media broadcasts in Ukraine.

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — On his way to Canada to attend the Halifax International Security Forum, Pavlo Klimkin, minister for foreign affairs of Ukraine, made a stop in Luxembourg. There he met with the leadership of the global satellite communications operator SES.

Klimkin said his country’s telecommunications services market is growing, and SES satellites now carry 65 percent of all media broadcasts in Ukraine. SES signed a multi-year agreement in December with Ukraine’s 1+1 Media Group for the lease of one transponder on the Astra 4A satellite.

The Luxembourg visit also was an opportunity for Klimkin to talk to his counterpart Jean Asselborn and other officials about “European integration” and tax issues, and to discuss future business deals in Luxembourg for Ukrainian companies, Klimkin told SpaceNews.

Ukraine has become an important customer for Luxembourg-based SES and Klimkin is looking to parlay those ties into further cooperation between the two nations in other areas. Klimkin, for instance, wants Luxembourg to use Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines for cargo services.

Klimkin is a staunch champion of deeper integration with Western Europe and is seeking help from Europe and the United States to fight Russia’s incursions and territorial claims over Crimea and Donbas.

Russia is developing sophisticated electronic-warfare weapons to jam satellite links and disrupt communications, said Klimkin. He said he is waiting word from the Trump administration on future U.S. military assistance. Ukraine’s military needs advanced technology to fight Russia, he said, in addition to logistics support and training.

In his meetings in Luxembourg, Klimkin brought up ways in which both nations can cooperate in cybersecurity. During a roundtable meeting with reporters, Klimkin said Russia  continues to perpetrate cyber attacks on Ukraine’s electric grid and President Vladimir Putin has stepped up his country’s use of information warfare to spread propaganda.