Ukraine Accuses Russia of Using Starlink

( – Starlink promotes itself as the world’s first and largest broadband internet service using a low Earth orbit satellite constellation. Operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the company offers low-latency, high-speed services for individuals in motion at greater than 10 mph over land for as little as $150 per month. Standard hardware for the system costs a one-time fee of $599. Ukrainian officials recently accused Russia of using the Starlink system as part of its war effort against the embattled country.

On February 10, Andriy Yusov, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR), confirmed that Russians were using Starlink systems for communications purposes in the frontline areas located in Ukraine. He told RBC-Ukraine that the instances of “Russian occupants using [those] devices” had started “to become systemic.”

Yusov’s remarks were in response to a report published by Defense One on February 9. The company specializes in providing news and analysis related to national security for defense and industry leaders.

Citing two unnamed Ukrainian sources, Defense One reported that Ukrainian military forces first detected Russians using Starlink devices several months ago. One of the sources said they had several of the satellite-connected devices. They stated it would be “hard for us to live” once the Russians were able to deploy “hundreds” of the systems.

The article also included a screenshot showing a Starlink terminal provided by one of its sources. The image was reportedly taken by a Ukrainian drone participating in an airstrike inside Ukraine.

Then, on February 11, the GUR issued a brief press release restating Yusov’s claim that the intelligence service had recorded instances of Starlink devices being used by Russian “occupiers” in Ukraine.

The notice said it intercepted radio transmissions indicating that soldiers from Russia’s 83rd Guards Air Assault Brigade had established internet access using the Starlink satellite communication system. The 83rd Guards is operating on the frontlines in Donetsk Oblast near Andriyivka and Klishchiyivka.

Later that day, Elon Musk issued a statement denying rumors that SpaceX was selling Starlink terminals to Russia. He also said they hadn’t been sold indirectly, to the best of the company’s knowledge.

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