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Elon Musk says Starlink satellite service is activated in Ukraine, where the Russian invasion has caused internet disruptions

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, stands at a press event on the grounds of the Tesla Gigafactory.

Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images.

  • A Ukrainian government official tweeted at SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Saturday, asking for Starlink terminals.
  • Musk personally responded just hours later, saying Starlink internet is now active in Ukraine.
  • The Russian invasion has disrupted internet service for some Ukrainians.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted Saturday evening that the company’s Starlink satellite internet service “is now active in Ukraine” with “more terminals en route.”

Musk’s announcement came in direct response to a plea from a Ukrainian government official for more Starlink stations amid a Russian invasion that disrupted Ukraine’s internet services.

“While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people!” Mykhailo Fedorov, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, tweeted at Musk earlier on Saturday. “We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”

—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2022

 

Musk responded just 10 hours later, saying he had granted the request. It wasn’t immediately clear how widely accessible the Starlink service would be in Ukraine.

In response to Musk’s announcement, the official Twitter account for Ukraine tweeted, “Thanx, appreciate it.”

—Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 26, 2022

 

Internet connectivity throughout Ukraine has been affected by the invasion, though the extent wasn’t immediately clear on Saturday. Connectivity to the country’s main internet provider even briefly plunged by 20% on Friday, internet monitors told Reuters, adding that it was unclear how much of that was caused by Ukrainians fleeing their homes.

“We currently observe national connectivity at 87% of ordinary levels, a figure that reflects service disruptions as well as population flight and the shuttering of homes and businesses since the morning of the 24th,” Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, told the news outlet.

SpaceX’s Starlink is a growing network of private satellites hovering in a low orbit aiming to provide high-speed internet service around the world. There are more than 1,500 Starlink satellites currently operational.

Saturday wasn’t the first time SpaceX has offered to send Starlink terminals to countries in need. Last month, Musk similarly offered to send the terminals to Tonga, where a volcanic eruption disrupted internet access across the country. 

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