According to US media, over 1,300 Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet systems appear to have ceased functioning in Ukraine, posing a significant military challenge to that nation.
According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, around 1,300 Starlink satellite internet system terminals in Ukraine ceased functioning last week, potentially as a result of unpaid subscription costs, CNN reported on November 4.
As Ukraine conducts counterattacks against Russian forces across the border, there are worries that it could lose access to satellite internet connection provided by US billionaire Elon Musk’s business.
The source claims that Ukraine purchased each of these transceivers from a British company in March for use in military activities. They appear to have been shut down since October 24 due to unpaid maintenance fees, which presents a significant obstacle to the Ukrainian military’s ability to operate.
According to two sources, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry requested $3.25 million from the British side to assist defray the cost for a month and rotation since it appeared to have known in advance that it would not be able to pay the price. Equipment should be moved to avoid failure during time-sensitive situations. CNN reports that it doesn’t appear that this offer was accepted.
In October, SpaceX, the parent firm of Starlink, informed the Pentagon that it could no longer fully fund satellite internet service in Ukraine. SpaceX also demanded that the US cover the cost of this. According to billionaire Musk, the running costs of these systems could top $400 million in the coming year with roughly 25,000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine. When Musk wrote to the Pentagon, less than 11,000 devices had received operational cost reimbursement.
Mr. Musk later had a change of heart, stating that SpaceX would continue to support Ukraine.
A senior US defence official, though, told CNN that SpaceX is still in talks with the Pentagon. According to the individual, Washington was anxious for Musk to guarantee in writing that he would continue to support Ukraine because it was worried he may alter his mind.
On the Ukrainian side, Mr. Mykhaylo Podolyak, a presidential adviser, acknowledged the significance of Starlink. He wrote on Twitter, “Like it or not, Mr. Musk has assisted us through the most crucial phases of the battle,” and that Ukraine will “find a means to keep Starlink working.”
Starlink provides a dependable and potent information system for the Ukrainian military. These systems are used by Ukrainian army members to plan counterattack missions or request artillery support. Starlink is used by common Ukrainians to communicate with family members both domestically and overseas.
The contribution of Mr. Musk is significant because a strong communications satellite network is regarded as a strategic “weapon” in contemporary combat against more formidable foes.
The US and its allies have allegedly been using “parts of civil space infrastructure, including commercial, for military goals,” according to Russia, which claims that Starlink is a legitimate target.