on Sunday 11 February, 2024

Ukraine says Russian forces are using Musk’s Starlink in occupied areas

A Ukrainian serviceman stands next to a vehicle that carries a Starlink satellite internet system near the frontline, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Feb. 27, 2023. (Reuters)
by : Reuters

Ukraine said on Sunday Russian forces were using terminals of Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink in occupied areas, releasing what it said was an intercept of an exchange between two Russian soldiers as proof of its “systemic” use.

Starlink systems have been vital for Ukraine’s battlefield communications throughout Russia’s nearly two-year-old invasion as Kyiv has faced a larger and better-equipped military.

The defense ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence posted an audio clip on Telegram which it said featured troops from Russia’s 83rd Air Assault Brigade discussing setting up the terminals in eastern Ukraine.

The directorate gave no details about the alleged scale of use, or how the terminals were obtained. Spokesman Andriy Yusov told Ukrainian media on Saturday that the matter was “beginning to take on a systemic nature.”

Russia’s defense ministry did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

SpaceX, which runs Starlink terminals, said in a statement on X last week that it “does not do business of any kind with the Russian government or its military,” and that its service does not work in Russia.