Musk’s announcement came as a direct response to a call from a Ukrainian government official who urged the tech giant to provide the beleaguered country with Starlink stations amid the Russian invasion that disrupted internet services in Ukraine.
And Mikhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, tweeted: While trying to colonize Mars, Russia is trying to occupy Ukraine. While your missiles land successfully from space, Russian missiles are attacking Ukrainian civilians . We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations.
Fedorov also called on Musk to address rational Russians to stand against the invasion of their government.
Musk responded only 10 hours later, saying he had accepted the request. It was not immediately clear how widespread the Starlink service would be in Ukraine. In response to Musk’s announcement, Ukraine’s official Twitter account tweeted: Thank you, we appreciate it.
Internet connectivity across Ukraine was affected by the invasion, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country where fighting intensified.
Internet watchers told Reuters that access to the country’s main internet provider GigaTrans briefly fell by 20 percent from normal levels before returning to higher levels, adding that it was unclear how much due to Ukrainians fleeing their homes.
Elon Musk says Starlink is active in Ukraine
“We are currently seeing national connectivity at 87 percent of normal levels, a number that reflects service disruptions as well as residents fleeing and closing homes and businesses since the morning of the 24th,” said Alp Tucker, director of NetBlocks.
Starlink represents a growing network of low-orbit satellites with the goal of providing high-speed Internet service around the world. There are more than 1,500 satellites currently operating.
It is reported that this is not the first time that SpaceX has offered to send Starlink stations to countries in need. Musk last month offered to send stations to Tonga, where a volcanic eruption has disrupted internet access across the country.
Ukrainian officials released more information about a Belarusian cyber espionage operation. They said it was targeting personal email accounts belonging to Kyiv’s forces.
Ukraine’s Computer Emergency Response Team said the hackers also targeted Ukrainians, Poles, Russians and Belarusians. Including several Belarusian media organizations.