Elon Musk said his Starlink satellite service is up and running in Ukraine, responding to a plea from the deputy prime minister to supply satellite-based communications to help resist Russiaâ€™s invasion of the country.
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine,” Musk tweeted, adding “more terminals en route.”
The tweet came some 10 hours after Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov urged Musk to provide Starlink services to Ukraine, days after it was invaded by neighboring Russia.
“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,” Fedorov tweeted at Musk.
He also called on the billionaire “to address sane Russians to stand” against their government’s invasion.
More Starlink terminals are en route, Musk tweeted Saturday in reply to Mykhailo Fedorovâ€™s entreaty, without explaining how the equipment would get there.
The costly satellite technology can provide internet in hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach – a critical backstop in times of disasters, news agency Reuters reported. SpaceX plans to take thousands of Starlink satellites into orbit.
Internet monitor NetBlocks said Ukraine has seen a “series of significant disruptions to internet service” since Thursday, when Russia launched military operations in the country.
Muskâ€™s SpaceX plans to take thousands of Starlink satellites into orbit, creating an internet-service constellation that would work as a low-cost alternative to remote land-based systems that are vulnerable to interruption.
The billionaire previously donated 50 satellite terminals to restore the internet in Tonga, whose telecommunications network was severely disrupted by a tsunami this year.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from California on Friday with a payload of another 50 satellites.