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Pentagon can't force SpaceX to block Starlink service to Russians at front

Pentagon can't force SpaceX to block Starlink service to Russians at front Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

The US Department of Defense is unable to compel SpaceX to cease servicing Starlink to Russian aggressors on the front lines — say, by creating a whitelist for Ukrainian troops’ terminals, according to John Plumb, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy.

"I don't think that DOD is in a position to make them do these things, so I'll just say that. I'm aware of Ukraine's concerns, working through it with both Ukraine and Starlink," he said.

He noted that attempts by various entities to obtain and use Starlink are "something we just have to bake in and understand."

"And make no mistake, the reason it's this thing is because it's so effective," said the Pentagon representative.

Responding to questions about whether SpaceX is doing enough to prevent the malicious use of Starlink, Plumb reiterated, "I think they're a great partner."

"The Pentagon is working with Ukraine and SpaceX “to provide the services that Ukraine needs and prevent Russian forces from using this…certainly without licenses, and certainly not at the behest of the country at which they're invading, for goodness sake. So we're working on it, making some progress, and after that, it gets classified," Plumb said.

Russians using Starlink on the front lines

Earlier, information appeared in the media that Russian military personnel in Ukraine were using Starlink terminals. Later, this information was confirmed by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, SpaceX owner Elon Musk said in response that Starlink terminals had not been officially sold to Russia.

However, Russian occupiers are experiencing communication problems, even though they have managed to obtain Starlink satellite internet terminals.

Recently, Bloomberg reported that Starlink terminals are being sold on black markets worldwide.