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Ukraine’s intelligence confirms Russia uses Starlink during combat operations in Ukraine

11 February, 2024 Sunday
11:10

Russian troops are using the Starlink satellite internet platform of SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, in the war against Ukraine

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This is reported by Defense One, citing anonymous Ukrainian sources.

According to the first source, Ukrainian troops first detected Russia's use of dozens of Starlink several months ago, and the second source confirmed this and added that its use is growing.

"When they have hundreds, it’ll be hard for us to live," the source said. 

Prominent Russian volunteer groups supporting the Russian invasion have also demonstrated Starlink terminals purchased for army units, the publication said.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Jurgensen said US officials were aware of the reports but had referred questions to "our Ukrainian partners for any current operational information regarding satellite communications activities of this kind".

SpaceX said the company "does not do business of any kind with the Russian Government or its military". However, several Russian companies advertise Starlink for sale, including iMiele.ru and DJIRussia. 

"If Russian stores are claiming to sell Starlink for service in that country, they are scamming their customers," the company said.

Sources believe Russians can easily purchase Starlinks through intermediaries abroad and then transfer them to the army.

SpaceX assured that if they receive information that a sanctioned or unauthorized party is using Starlink, they will investigate the matter and deactivate the satellite communication platforms. 

Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, believes that Russia could simply "provide a false GPS signal to the Starlink terminal so it thinks the user is in Ukrainian-held territory". The scientist also supported the idea that Ukraine can determine whether Russia is using Starlink, as the signals of the terminals can be identified by means of radio intelligence. 

What HUR reports?

Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense, in a comment for "RBK-Ukraine," confirmed the use of Starlink by the Russians in the captured territories of Ukraine.

"Yes, there have been recorded cases of the Russian occupiers using these devices," he said.

According to Yusov, such cases are beginning to become an occurring tendency among Russians.

  • Ukraine has received a batch of Starlink terminals from the Polish government. They will help restore communication in the de-occupied regions, and ensure the operation of schools and medical facilities.
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