Ukraine Claims Russian Forces Using Starlink Satellite Communications

Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Agency has reported confirmation of Russian forces in occupied areas utilizing Starlink satellite communications. Intercepted conversations indicate that Starlink terminals are facilitating internet access for Russia’s 83rd Air Assault Brigade deployed in the Donetsk region.

The revelation has drawn attention to Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, which owns Starlink. SpaceX swiftly responded, asserting that it does not engage in any business with the Russian government or its military. The company emphasized its commitment to investigating claims of unauthorized usage and deactivating terminals if confirmed.

Despite SpaceX’s assurances, Starlink’s service is not operational in Russia. However, it remains unclear whether the service is functional in occupied Ukrainian territories.

Starlink, renowned for its broadband capabilities, holds significant importance in Ukrainian battlefield communications. Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Main Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate, previously emphasized its widespread usage across all front lines.

The latest developments echo revelations from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Elon Musk, which shed light on Starlink’s role in conflicts. According to the book, Musk ordered the shutdown of Starlink satellite communications near the Crimean coast last year to thwart a potential Ukrainian attack on the Russian naval fleet.

As Ukrainian submarine drones approached the Russian fleet, they lost connectivity and were rendered harmless, a decision reportedly prompted by Musk’s conversations with senior Russian officials. Musk’s concern stemmed from the possibility of Russia responding to a Ukrainian incursion with nuclear weapons.

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