Elon Musk answers Ukrainian vice PM plea to switch on Starlink network

Elon Musk answers Ukrainian vice prime minister’s plea to switch on his Starlink satellite network so locals can access internet even if Russia destroys local telecoms system

  • SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk said on Saturday that the company’s Starlink satellite broadband service is available in Ukraine
  • Musk also tweeted that SpaceX is sending more terminals to the country, whose internet has been disrupted due to the Russian invasion
  • ‘Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,’ Musk tweeted
  • He was responding to a tweet by a Ukraine government official who asked Musk to provide the embattled country with Starlink stations
  • Internet connectivity in Ukraine has been affected by the Russian invasion, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country 
  • While extremely costly to deploy, satellite technology can provide internet for people who live in rural or hard-to-serve places

Elon Musk has answered a plea from the vice prime minister of Ukraine who asked for the tech billionaire and SpaceX CEO and founder, Elon Musk, to help the embattled nation with communication satellites. 

‘@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand,’ the vice PM Mykhailo Fedorov wrote in a tweet on Saturday.

His plea came as part of Ukraine finds itself without any internet connection following three days of rocket attacks by Russia. 

SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk said on Saturday that the company’s Starlink satellite broadband service is available in Ukraine 

Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted at Musk on Saturday for help 

The Ukraine government official asked Musk to provide the embattled country with Starlink stations

Less than 11 hours later, Musk answered the call and revealed more terminals were on route 

On Saturday afternoon, Musk answered the call and said that he would be sending Starlink receivers to the country.

‘Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,’ Musk tweeted hours after the extraordinary request. 

Starlink is a space-based system that SpaceX has been building for years to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world. 

Also on Saturday, Fedorov called on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix and Google to block Russia-related accounts. 

Ukrainian Deputy PM Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted on Saturday: ‘Starlink terminals are coming to Ukraine! Thank you @elonmusk, thank you everyone, who supported Ukraine!’

Mykhailo Fedorov thanked Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova, pictured on Saturday 

Twitter user Lawof72 tweets on Feb. 26, 2022: Thank you @elonmusk and @SpaceX for enabling Starlink and sending Starlink receivers to Ukraine

Even the country’s Twitter account tweeted its thanks to Elon Musk and his swift action

‘We’ve also asked @Netflix for the support. We appealed to them to block the Russian Federation’s access to Netflix and shut off Russian content. We believe you do care. Let’s stop this disgraceful bloody war!’ he tweeted.      

While Ukraine continues to ensure attacks from the air and assaults from the ground by Russian forced, the county has also been subjected to cyber attacks.   

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, Cabinet of Ministers, and Parliament website were all appeared offline for several hours on Wednesday following a cyberattack which also  affected some of the banks in the country. 

A large oil depot caught fire near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Saturday night 

The following day, Russia’s assault on its Western neighbor began Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war and announced a ‘special military operation’ to demilitarize and ‘denazify’ Ukraine under the pretense that Russia was defending itself.

On Sunday morning, two Ukrainian cities were rocked by Russian blasts in the early hours as Vladimir Putin stepped up his invasion after it was claimed he has been infuriated by his army’s lack of progress. 

Local newspaper The Kyiv Independent wrote that an oil depot had been blown up at Vasylkiv, a city which sits around 40 kilometers south west of Kyiv, close to a key airport. A gas pipeline was also blown up in Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine which sits close to the Russian border.

Video footage showed a mushroom cloud fill the city’s sky as the fuel line was destroyed, with a group of people who filmed the clip heard exclaiming with shock as the ball of flames erupted into the sky. 

Ukrainian TV station Nexta shared footage of flames and black clouds billowing into the sky at the site of the Vasylkiv attack as the fuel burned.

Artist’s depiction of a Starlink satellite over Earth. Starlink is a constellation of satellites that aims to provide internet access to most of the Earth, particularly underserved rural areas

60 Starlink satellites stacked together before deployment in May 2019

Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX has close to 2,000 Starlink satellites orbiting Earth at an altitude of 340 miles.

Last week Elon Musk’s satellite venture launched a free high-speed internet service to connect remote villages in Tonga that were cut off since a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami in January, so it is not completely out of the realm of possibility that something similar might be set up quickly for the Ukrainian people. 

The satellites allow for large amounts of information to be beamed quickly to any point on Earth without the need for fiber-optic cables. 

‘In 2022 modern technologies are one of the best response to tanks, rockets and missiles. I’ve addressed to the biggest tech giants to support the sanctions for Russian Federation. We asked them to help us stop this outrageous aggression on our people!’ Fedorov wrote in another Twitter posting on Saturday.

As of the February 26, a total of 2,142 Starlink satellites have been launched since the first couple in February 2018, although many of this total have failed or been decommissioned in space.  

SpaceX has even grander plans for its Starlink project, and has already requested authorization for a second-generation megaconstellation, made up of 30,000 satellites.  

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