Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv residents used the city’s official app to buy transport tickets and pay for parking but overnight it has been transformed into a life-saving tool.
The Kyiv Digital app – which has 1.5 million users – now warns residents of possible air attacks, maps the locations of bomb shelters, medical supplies and working petrol stations, and shares information on how to support the army.
Kyiv Deputy Mayor Petro Olenych – who also serves as one of the country’s Chief Digital Transformation Officers (CDTO) – was behind the initiative, which was up and running just 24 hours after the invasion started.
“We will contribute to the restoration of the destroyed facilities and strengthen the information support of the working enterprises – it is important for the city and Ukraine to support and restore the economy,” said Olenych.
“Before the war, we had many plans and options that we wanted to add to Kyiv Digital. Eco-monitoring services, petitions, etc. I think we will also return to them, but with a new adaptation.”
The city has also stepped up the availability of public WiFi across the city, bringing coverage to more than 200 air raid shelters in an effort to aid the flow of information and allow its residents to keep in touch with relatives.
Ukraine’s adaptation of everyday technology has been a defining feature of the war to date.
The country’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Government ministers have turned social media to their advantage, sending updates via the messaging app Telegram, posting morale-boosting videos and using Twitter to urge governments and private companies to adopt heavier sanctions on Russia.
A tweeted appeal to Elon Musk by Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, led to shipments of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband terminals.
Image: Oleksandr Ratushniak / UNDP Ukraine
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