Russia Utilizing Starlink Terminals in Occupied Ukrainian Territories, According to Ukrainian Intelligence Sources

Russia’s Secret Use of SpaceX’s Starlink in Ukraine: What You Need to Know

According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia is using Starlink after intercepting the radio communications of its 83rd Assault Brigade, which is operating near the towns of Klishchiivka and Andriivka in the Donetsk region. The confirmation comes after media reports this week that said Ukrainian troops had detected Russia’s use of the terminals several months ago.

Starlink terminals, which connect to SpaceX’s satellites in low Earth orbit to provide internet services, have been hailed as an important tool facilitating Kyiv’s battlefield communications. Ukraine’s GUR did not specify how many terminals it believed Russia had or how they might have been obtained. Starlink said in a statement on Thursday that it does not do business with Russia’s government or military. However, it did not mention the possible use of Starlink in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

If SpaceX obtains knowledge that a Starlink terminal is being used by a sanctioned or unauthorized party, it investigates the claim and takes actions to deactivate the terminal if confirmed. However, Russian troops may be obscuring their use of Starlink to SpaceX by sending a fake GPS signal, according to Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Musk initially gave his full support to Ukraine when Russia first invaded and sent “thousands” of Starlink terminals to the country. However, relations have since cooled and in 2022 Musk denied Kyiv’s request to activate Starlink near Moscow-annexed Crimea because doing so would have made SpaceX explicitly complicit in a major act of war.

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