Are Russian forces using the Starlink satellite internet access service, developed by Elon Musk? This is, in any case, what Ukrainian intelligence said on Saturday February 10, although this network had until then been used only by Kiev troops.
“Yes, cases of use of these devices by the Russian occupiers have been recorded. This is starting to take on a systemic character,” Andriï Yussov, spokesperson for the Main Directorate of Ukrainian Military Intelligence, told the newspaper. RBC-Ukraine.
A network of more than 2,000 small satellites
According to the press agency UNIANradio interceptions established that Russian units stationed near Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, “started massively using Starlink on the front.”
Starlink has a network of more than 2,000 small satellites in low orbit above the earth, which help provide internet access. Terrestrial terminals are then connected to routers which make it possible to generate wifi and therefore internet access.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, has delivered thousands of terminals there which provide an internet connection. Some 25,000 terminals have been deployed in the country.
This network is essential for communications for the Ukrainian army, and was not previously used by Russian forces.
Elon Musk responds to accusations
According to Ukrainian military bloggers, Russia was able to acquire Starlink terminals via third countries. If the network is blocked in Russia, Russian troops in Ukraine can potentially gain access to it. Two days after this announcement, billionaire Elon Musk denied any involvement of Starlink on the Russian side. “A number of false reports claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia. This is totally false,” he wrote in a publication on the social network X, of which he is the owner. “To our knowledge, no Starlink terminal has been sold directly or indirectly to Russia. »
Ukraine and Elon Musk have a complex relationship. kyiv had thanked him for deploying its satellites, but later became outraged when he proposed that the country cede territory to achieve peace.
The billionaire also claimed to have prevented a Ukrainian attack on a Russian navy base in 2022 by refusing a request from kyiv to activate Internet access via Starlink in the Black Sea, near Crimea annexed by Moscow.