Starlink terminals are reportedly being used by Russian forces in Ukraine

Starlink satellite internet terminals are widely used by Russian forces in Ukraine. . The publication shows that terminals developed by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX are used to coordinate attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. In addition, Starlink terminals can be used to control drones and other forms of military equipment on the battlefield.

The terminals reach Russian forces through a complex network of black market sellers. This is despite Starlink devices being banned in the country. WSJ He tracked down some of these sellers who smuggled the terminals into Russia and even made sure the deliveries reached the front line. The report also indicates that some of the terminals were originally purchased on eBay.

This black market for Starlink terminals allegedly extends beyond occupied Ukraine and into Sudan. Many of these Sudanese dealers sell their units to the Rapid Support Force, a paramilitary group. such as ethnically motivated killings, targeted exploitation of human rights defenders, sexual violence and the burning of entire communities. WSJ notes that hundreds of terminals have found their way to members of the Flexible Support Force.

Back in February, Elon Musk addressed previous reports that Starlink terminals were being used by Russian soldiers in the war against Ukraine. “As far as we know, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia” . The Kremlin also denied these reports. . Despite these statements, WSJ says that “thousands of white pizza box-sized devices” have landed with “some of America’s enemies and accused war criminals.”

After the February reports, House Democrats demanded that Musk act. , noted that Russia’s use of military equipment “potentially violates US sanctions and export controls.” Starlink actually has the ability to disable individual terminals, and each item includes geofencing technology that is supposed to prevent use in unauthorized countries, although it’s unclear whether black market sellers can bypass these barriers.

AHouse Democrats asked Musk to act, ar. took steps to arguing that the terminals were never intended for use in military conflicts. According to his biography, so does Musk put an end to the country’s plans to attack the Russian fleet at the beginning of the conflict. Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He wrote in X As a result of Musk’s decision, “civilian population, children are killed”. He further offended the billionaire by writing that “this is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and a big ego”.

But Musk fired back, saying it was Starlink , so there was nothing to eliminate. He also said that the policy was decided before the planned attack on the Ukrainian navy. Ukraine lost access to more than 1,300 Starlink terminals in the first days of the conflict . According to information, SpaceX demanded $2,500 per month from Ukraine to keep each unit operational, which amounted to $3.25 million per month. These prices are in line with the company’s premium premium plan. Note that SpaceX donated more than 3,600 terminals to Ukraine.

SpaceX has not yet commented on this WSJ A report on the distribution of Starlink terminals on the black market. We will update this post.

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