Musk says Starlink operates in Ukraine as Russian invasion disrupts internet

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during a conversation with legendary game designer Todd Howard (not pictured) at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles, California, US, June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

By Hyunjoo Jin

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk said on Saturday that the company’s Starlink satellite broadband service is available in Ukraine and that SpaceX is sending more terminals to the country, whose internet has been disrupted as a result of the Russian invasion.

“Starlink service is now operating in Ukraine. More terminals on the way,” Musk tweeted.

He responded to a tweet from a Ukrainian government official asking Musk to supply Starlink stations to the embattled country.

“@elonmusk, while trying to colonize Mars, Russia is trying to occupy Ukraine! While your missiles are successfully landing from space, Russian missiles are attacking Ukrainian civilians!” tweeted Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov.

Internet connectivity in Ukraine has been affected by the Russian invasion, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the country where fighting has been heaviest, internet monitors said on Saturday.

Although extremely costly to implement, satellite technology can provide Internet access to people who live in rural areas or in hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers don’t reach. The technology can also be a critical backstop when hurricanes or other natural disasters disrupt communications.

Musk said on Jan. 15 that SpaceX had 1,469 Starlink satellites active and 272 in operational orbits soon.

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