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Media: Russian military increasingly using Starlink terminals on battlefield

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 10, 2024 5:39 PM 2 min read
A Ukrainian soldier uses a Starlink terminal during military exercises in Chernihiv Oblast, Ukraine, in June 2023 (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/Getty Images)
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The Russian military has begun to use Starlink terminals more actively on the front line, Militarnyi, a Ukrainian military news site, reported on Feb. 10.

A representative for SpaceX, the manufacturer of Starlink terminals, denied that the company has ever sold or supplied the equipment to the Russian military.

According to Militarnyi, the Starlink terminals are likely being procured through intermediaries in third countries via parallel imports, making it near impossible to trace.

SpaceX began providing the Starlink satellite internet system to Ukraine shortly after the Russian full-scale invasion in February 2022.

In June 2023, the Pentagon confirmed that SpaceX had won a contract from the Defense Department to provide Ukraine with Starlink satellite services.

Starlink terminals have proven crucial for the Ukrainian military, offering high-speed internet access in remote regions. This allows them to efficiently carry out tasks like coordinating drone strikes and gathering intelligence.

However, Ukrainian military personnel stationed at the front line have been increasingly voicing concerns about internet connection issues, an engineer who deals with Starlink terminals for the Ukrainian military told the Ukrainian Military Center.

A significant concentration of terminals in one area is causing system overload and slowing down speeds, the Ukrainian Military Center added.

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