About the Event

Guests joined the World Affairs Council and the Museum of the American Revolution for the Philadelphia premiere of the Ukraine documentary "Cyberwar 2022" (52min), with a special message from director Pavel Cherepin followed by a Q&A session with Paul M. Joyal.

Cyberwar 2022 tells the story of Russian and Ukrainian battles that are currently raging in cyberspace. Demonstrating the significant collaboration between American, corporate, and allied cyber forces with Ukraine, this film explores the new challenges and opportunities that intelligence-sharing and technological know-how play in supporting Ukrainian cyber defense. In this new world, Ukrainian cyber intelligence is vital to the United State's cyber defense, and through working together the US and Ukraine have discovered the latest Russian cyber methods and tools.

This film is already receiving excellent reviews in European film festivals and was recently nominated in London for the Best International Documentary category at the Docuworld Festival in UK.

For more information about the documentary, click here.

After the documentary screening, Mr. Joyal began his remarks with the statement that cyber strategy affects every domain of warfare, from land to sea, sky, and space. He highlighted the Russian coordination of cyber propaganda attacks with missile strikes, which were aimed at decreasing trust in the Ukrainian government and harming morale. During the Q&A, an audience member asked why Russia made its initial cyber-attack far in advance of the conventional or “kinetic” forces invasion. Mr. Joyal hypothesized that this early attack was a mistake made due to bad command-and-control structure in the Russian military. The following question was about how U.S. cyber capabilities measure up to Russia and Ukraine. Mr. Joyal replied that American cyber capabilities are great, but often fly under the radar because of the lesser visibility of cyber operations. He elaborated that U.S. cyber assets are heavily involved in the war. Another guest asked why Ukrainian government agents stated in the documentary that their cyber operations are strictly defensive. Mr. Joyal attributed this description to the sensitive legal consequences of admitting to offensive cyber operations. Furthermore, he noted that Ukrainian cyber operations are often carried out by civilian hackers loosely associated with the government and who follow fewer restrictions on defensive warfare. This response prompted a guest to inquire whether the civilian hackers currently working together with militaries will become a threat after the war. Mr. Joyal said that because Ukraine is fighting for its existence, their focus is on immediate survival rather than potential future threats.    

Mr. Joyal also answered the following questions: Should a cyber-attack be seen as a warning of an impending kinetic attack? How can one distinguish between state and non-state actors in cyber warfare? How will continual cyberwarfare impact Ukraine and Russia? What are the impacts of the decentralization that occurred after the annexation of Crimea? How effective was the international hacker community in helping Ukraine? Is America appropriately concerned with protecting its cyber security? Will the United States’ support of Ukraine be worth it if Ukraine wins? How much is NATO assisting Ukraine in cyber warfare?

About the Speakers

  • Paul Joyal,  Vice President at National Strategies Inc 
  • Pavel Cherepin (Virtual), Director & Producer, United Heroes Group