Ukrainian intelligence verifies information on the possible presence of Starlink terminals in the Russian military

Ukrainian intelligence verifies information on the possible presence of Starlink terminals in the Russian military

What happened?

The social network X has started to receive reports about the possible presence of Starlink satellites in the Russian military. 

Users of the social network state that they can already "see" activated Starlink in the territories temporarily occupied by Russia.  

It is reported that Starlink is allegedly imported through Dubai, indicating that the company is violating the sanctions imposed on Russia.

Later, Ukrainian activist and volunteer Serhii Sternenko also spoke about using Starlink in the occupied territories.

"Yes, it is true. We will try to pass the collected evidence at the highest level,"

Sternenko wrote on his page. 

Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine, told Channel 24 that the DIU is checking information about Russia's possible use of satellite systems. 

It will be recalled that Starlink is a project of the billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX company, which is engaged in communications satellites. The system provides access to broadband internet anywhere in the world.

Has Starlink expanded its coverage to the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk region?

The official website of the Starlink project has a map of satellite coverage.

Messages are being circulated on social networks claiming that today, the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, in particular the northern part of the Luhansk region, are being marked as accessible on the website.

Svidomi has noticed that the map of Starlink coverage in Ukraine has not changed since at least January 2022. Screenshots taken by other media earlier show this. 

At the same time, the website allows you to order a terminal in Lysychansk, which has been under temporary Russian occupation since July 2022. SPEKA media drew attention to this. The standard tariff is $75 per month and $589 for a set of equipment. 

However, it is impossible to order Starlink to the temporarily occupied Luhansk. 

The use of Starlink satellites in the Russian-Ukrainian war 

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Elon Musk's company has been supplying the Ukrainian military with satellite communications systems. 

The first set of Starlink satellite internet stations arrived in Ukraine on February 28, 2022.  

"It is a unique situation for Ukraine regarding technology because there has never been a Starlink in Ukraine before. And today, there are thousands of stations and tens of thousands of people using this Internet,"

said Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, in April 2022.   

Businessman Elon Musk called Starlink a "communications backbone" for Ukraine, especially on the frontline.

In February 2023, SpaceX restricted the use of Starlink to control drones during the war.

The president of SpaceX said that Starlink provided the Ukrainian army with broadband to defend itself against the Russian army but "was never intended to be used as a weapon". 

However, following the news, Forbes interviewed the military and found that this "restriction" does not affect the operation of drones, as a separate radio link is used for this purpose.

"We have never faced such a problem because we use Starlink only for the Internet, not for drone operations," a member of the Dnipro-1 volunteer aerial reconnaissance battalion told reporters. 

In September 2023, CNN reported that Elon Musk had secretly ordered his engineers to shut down the Starlink network off the coast of Crimea in 2022. According to Musk's biography, this decision was made to allegedly prevent a Ukrainian attack on the Russian navy. 

"I'm not sure that Mr Elon Musk operated with any mythical buttons and stopped the movement of any vehicles. It is my personal opinion. I can confirm that Starlink systems did not work for some time near Crimea because we also used certain equipment," Ukrainian intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov denied the information. 

The US Senate Committee on Armed Services is investigating Elon Musk's alleged refusal to turn on Starlink near Crimea.