The tech industry continues to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Elon Musk’s SpaceX activating its Starlink satellites over the country.
Elon Musk responded to pleas for help from Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and who is also the country’s digital minister.
“Elon Musk, while you try to colonise Mars – Russia tries to occupy Ukraine!,” he tweeted. “While your rockets successfully land from space – Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”
Elon Musk responded, after Fedorov retweeted Elon Musk’s reply.
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.”
“Starlink terminals are coming to Ukraine! Thank you @elonmusk,” tweeted Ukraine’s Fedorov. “thank you everyone, who supported Ukraine!”
Then on Monday Starlink terminals arrived in Ukraine, after Fedorov posted a photo of donated Starlink satellite internet terminals on the back of a military-looking truck.
“Starlink – here. Thanks, @elonmusk,” tweeted Fedorov.
“You are most welcome,” replied Musk.
The donated Starlink terminals seem to be home satellite television dishes and can provide relatively fast internet service, by residential standards, by connecting to SpaceX’s fleet of satellites in low orbit.
These may provide vital connectivity in the days ahead, as intense city fighting could result in widespread outages of electricity supplies, mobile networks, and internet services in Ukraine.
A Twitter user reporting on the invasion, Oleg Kutkov, tweeted he was now using SpaceX Starlink, with the dish placed just outside his window.
But John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab project, took to Twitter to warn the terminals could become Russian targets.
“Re: @elonmusk’s starlink donation. Good to see. But remember: if #Putin controls the air above #Ukraine, users’ uplink transmissions become beacons … for airstrikes,” he tweeted.
“#Russia has decades of experience hitting people by targeting their satellite communications,” he added in a series of 15 tweets detailing the risks.
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