Russian Army Now Using Musk’s Starlink On Front Lines, Ukraine Says

According to Ukrainian intelligence officer Andriy Yusov, the Russian army is now using Musk’s Starlink on the front lines, as reported by RBC-Ukraine.

Russian Army Now Using Musk's Starlink On Front Lines, Ukraine Says 1

Claims made by the Ukrainian military appear to be supported by photos shared on social media, which show that the Russian military is currently deploying Starlink communications terminals on the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine.

The military intelligence service of Ukraine announced on Sunday that it has recorded radio communications verifying that Russia uses the terminals, which offer high-speed internet connection through a group of low-orbit satellites. According to Ukrainian intelligence officer Andriy Yusov, “Yes, there have been documented cases of the Russian occupiers using these devices,” RBC-Ukraine was informed. “This is beginning to have a systemic quality to it.”

President Zelensky and Western media have praised General Oleksandr Syrsky as the ‘Hero of Kiev,’ but among the soldiers, he is known by the far less flattering nickname ‘Butcher Of Bakhmut.’

The Ukrainian military has been using Starlink, a service provided by Elon Musk’s SpaceX since Musk activated it in the nation shortly after Russia invaded in 2022. Ukraine, which has utilized the high-speed Internet for safe communication as well as the operation of targeting and other military software, is said to have a strategic advantage.

Defense One broke the story on the development first on Friday. The report featured information from Ukrainian sources as well as a screenshot from drone footage that appeared to display the unique profile of a Starlink terminal on a Russian position that was being attacked.

Russian Army Now Using Musk's Starlink On Front Lines, Ukraine Says 2
This image provided to Defense One by a Ukrainian source, seemingly shows a Starlink terminal at a Russian position in Ukraine

A Russian volunteer organization called KatyaVayla, which is situated in the disputed Donbas area, proudly showed off five Starlink terminals it had purchased for the Russian military in a video that it shared on Telegram.

There may only be dozens of Starlink terminals in Russia at this time. It will be difficult for us to survive once they have hundreds, a Ukrainian source told Defense One.

Starlink stated that it “does not do business of any kind with the Russian government or its military” in response to the story. Since Starlink is not operational in Russia, services will not be available there.” Stopping Starlink from operating in Russia is one thing. But any effort to stop Russia from using Starlink along the redrawing war lines within Ukraine would almost probably affect the Ukrainian military inadvertently.

The latest set of unfortunate events for the Ukrainian military, which is getting fewer weapons and personnel by the day, is their increasing loss of a technological edge over Russia. “Ukrainian artillery units…are firing around 2,000 shells per day, barely a fifth as many as their Russian counterparts,” according to Defense One. This dismal state of affairs comes after the much-discussed 2023 counteroffensive, which ultimately accomplished very little in terms of shifting the lines of battle.

It has been suggested by several Ukrainian media sources that the Russian Starlink equipment might have been acquired in Dubai. SpaceX quickly announced on X that “Starlink is likewise not available in Dubai. Dubai is neither a place where SpaceX ships nor where Starlink can be purchased.

From the beginning, SpaceX’s project to supply Starlink terminals to Ukraine has been difficult. The company claimed it had no intention of turning the technology into a weapon. President Gwynne Shotwell stated in 2023 that “Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement.”

Musk’s worries about getting personally embroiled in the conflict were allayed when SpaceX said last year that it could no longer offer the service to Ukraine for free. The Pentagon then took up the tab and acted as a middleman.

Musk claims that he previously turned down a request from Ukraine to enable the service in Crimea because of concern that Ukraine would use it to sink Russian warships berthed in Sevastopol and maybe start a big conflict that might even turn nuclear.

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