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Digital Ministry writes to Musk to prevent Russians from using Starlink

20.02.2024, 10:06

Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, has written to the SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, proposing a method for preventing the Russian troops from using Starlink systems on the frontline.

He spoke about this in his interview with Suspilne.

According to him, they discussed the issue even before it gained traction.

"We looked around, analyzed the case with Israel, when the conflict in Gaza escalated recently. How did they solve the situation. We found a suitable method, proposed it to SpaceX, and now we have clear communication on how to ensure that there are no such cases," Fedorov said. 

Yet, the Minister noted that he was unsure how the situation would pan out.

"Still, we found this method and proposed it. More precisely, SpaceX has already done something similar with the Israeli government, so we proposed that," he added.

Fedorov said that Starlink could be disabled in the temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine, "but it would also be disastrous for us."

"We need Starlink to be working there, because certain technologies are being used that are important to us as well. They are drone-related. There's another way to make our Starlinks work while disabling the Starlinks that appear there through other means. And now we are working with SpaceX," the Minister emphasized.

At the same time, Fedorov does not believe that Starlink appearing in the Russian army is in any way connected to Musk's comments on the Russo–Ukrainian war.

"It was logical that they would start buying and importing them through third-party countries. They had Starlink before, they were already imported, it's just that now it has gained traction, there are a little more of them. That is, some entrepreneur of theirs probably monetized it and it took off on its own. Technologically, it is necessary to disable the Starlinks they use and make sure that ours continue to work," the Minister said.


On February 11, 2024, the Defense Intelligence department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine confirmed the Russian troops are using the satellite communication systems Starlink in combat.

SpaceX, which operates the Starlink satellite communication network, denied doing business of any kind with the Russian government or its military.

The company said that Starlink could be purchased in Dubai nor did SpaceX ship there. Additionally, Starlink has not authorized any third-party intermediaries, resellers or distributors of any kind to sell Starlink in Dubai.

"If SpaceX obtains knowledge that a Starlink terminal is being used by a sanctioned or unauthorized party, we investigate the claim and take actions to deactivate the terminal if confirmed," it added.

On February 13, the DIU reported that Russia buys communications equipment for use in combat, including satellite Internet terminals Starlink, in Arab countries. According to the DIU, a recently intercepted radio conversation features Russian soldiers discussing plans for acquiring a Starlink satellite communication terminal.

On February 12, Elon Musk said there was "no way in hell" of Russian President Vladimir Putin losing the war in Ukraine and opposed the US bill on Ukraine aid.

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