28 February 2022, 16:00-18:45 (UTC+1), virtual
All members of the RIPE NCC Executive Board (the Board) were present apart from Maria Häll, who sent her apologies. The Chairman of the Board opened the meeting at 16:00 and welcomed everyone.
The Chairman opened a discussion on the upcoming sanctions stemming from the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Athina Fragkouli stated that the Legal team was reviewing the large number of potential new sanctions and would receive a memo from their legal counsel with the official list soon. At the moment, OFAC sanctions did not technically apply to the RIPE NCC, and SWIFT sanctions only applied to specific Russian banks. However, Dutch banks might take a broader approach to sanctions and refuse all payments, so the RIPE NCC would need to consider how to address this.
The Board discussed what the plan would be for invoicing in light of the situation and whether to invoice Ukrainian and Russian members. One solution considered was to invoice as usual but offer an exemption for those members who were currently unable to pay. Another suggestion was a phased invoicing approach. The Board decided to continue this discussion later.
Felipe Victolla Silveira noted an increase in sanctions alerts, though not all were Russian-related sanctions. He shared that their approach to these alerts would be business as usual. Additionally, there had been no major changes in transfer patterns in the region.
Felipe shared that the RIPE NCC’s preliminary risk assessment had not found that the organisation faced major risks to its operations due to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. RPKI was unlikely to be affected. The Registry was more at risk, but they were monitoring this closely and preparing solutions to manage these risks. They had also considered the risk to RIPE NCC staff with ties to Ukraine and how to address this.
The Board discussed how LIRs in Ukraine might be affected. Felipe noted that they should prepare for these LIRs to be unable to pay their invoices. Hans Petter Holen confirmed that the RIPE NCC also anticipated a potential lack of contact with Ukrainian LIRs for the time being and that they would withhold from closing these accounts for this reason. The Board considered whether it would be possible to simply lock accounts or have multifactor authentication to help address these concerns. Hans Petter said he would look into this.
The Executive Board discussed and approved the following resolution:
The RIPE NCC provides critical services to its membership spread across a diverse geographical and political region. The Executive Board of the RIPE NCC believes that the means to communicate should not be affected by domestic political disputes, international conflicts or war. This includes the provision of correctly registered Internet numbering resources. The Executive Board of the RIPE NCC is committed to taking all lawful steps available to ensure that the RIPE NCC can provide undisrupted services to all members across our service region and the global Internet community. The RIPE NCC will publicly document all its efforts to ensure that the registry is not negatively affected by laws, regulations or political developments.
It is crucial that the RIPE NCC remains neutral and does not take positions with regard to domestic political disputes, international conflicts or war.
This guarantees equal treatment for all those responsible for providing Internet services. This is a fundamental reason why the RIPE NCC has been able to maintain its operations in the way it has for the past three decades. It also means that the information and data provided by the RIPE NCC can be trusted as authoritative and free from bias or political influence. Failure to adhere to this approach would jeopardise the very model that has been key to the development of the Internet in our service region.
The Executive Board also expresses solidarity with those operators who have the difficult task of maintaining Internet access to assist the people suffering from the terrible effects of armed conflicts and war.
At around 16:30 (UTC+1), one of the Board members asked the Chairman for a closed Board session. At this time, all other attendees left the meeting except for the Board members and the Managing Director.
The Board extensively discussed the state of current affairs related to the war, including its possible impacts on the RIPE NCC, the safety and wellbeing of RIPE NCC staff, sanctions, the neutrality of the registry and the text of the resolution regarding the situation.