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Russia uses Starlink network on Ukraine frontlines

Russia uses Starlink network on Ukraine frontlines Starlink (Illustrative photo: bestgaminpro)

Russia is likely using SpaceX's Starlink satellite devices on the frontlines in Ukraine, Defense One reports.

According to an anonymous source, Ukrainian forces first detected Russia's use of satellite communication on the frontlines several months ago.

A second source confirmed the use of Starlink and added that its usage appears to be increasing.

Russia uses Starlink network on Ukraine frontlines

Source: Defence One

Russia's use of the Starlink system worsens the problems faced by the Ukrainian military, who already suffer from a severe shortage of ammunition.

Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Jurgensen said that American officials were aware of these reports but redirected questions to “our Ukrainian partners for any current operational information regarding satellite communications activities of this kind.”

Russia's position

The media notes that known Russian volunteer groups supporting Russian aggression have also shown Starlink terminals purchased for military units.

Many Russian companies advertise the sale of Starlink, including and DJIRussia.

SpaceX's reaction

In a tweet on February 8, SpaceX representatives stated that the company does not conduct any business with the Russian government or its military.

"SpaceX does not do business of any kind with the Russian government or its military. Starlink is not active in Russia, meaning service will not work in that country. SpaceX has never sold or marketed Starlink in Russia, nor has it shipped equipment to locations in Russia," the company says.

It notes that if Russian stores claim to sell Starlink for use in the country, they are scamming their customers.

However, according to sources, Russians can easily purchase Starlink from abroad and then bring it back to distribute to their troops.

SpaceX's tweet did not directly address reports of Russian troops using Starlink services in Ukraine.

"If SpaceX obtains knowledge that a Starlink terminal is being used by a sanctioned or unauthorized party, we investigate the claim and take actions to deactivate the terminal if confirmed," the company says in a statement.

However, according to a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, Bryan Clark, Russian troops may conceal the use of Starlink from SpaceX.

Starlink in Ukraine

At the beginning of the full-scale war, Elon Musk's company provided Starlink terminals to Ukraine to ensure communication on the frontlines and in the frontline regions. According to recent data, Ukraine received 42,000 terminals provided by SpaceX and its partners in Ukraine.

Elon Musk previously said that Russia could "kill" the only Starlink communication system operating on the Ukrainian front. He also warned that supposedly he could disable terminals over significant maintenance costs.

There were also reports that Musk secretly forced engineers to shut down the satellite network to prevent Ukraine from attacking the Russian fleet.