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US Democratic congressmen open investigation into Musk's SpaceX, Russian alleged usage of Starlink

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 7, 2024 3:58 PM 2 min read
The Starlink logo in an illustrative photo dated Nov. 10, 2023. (Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Two Democrats in Congress opened an investigation into businessman Elon Musk's SpaceX company, demanding information on Russia's alleged usage of the Starlink satellite internet terminals, the Washington Post reported on March 7, citing a letter written by Congressmen Jamie Raskin and Robert Garcia.

Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov told the Wall Street Journal in February 2024 that Russian forces were using thousands of Starlink terminals in Ukraine, echoing earlier assertions by the military intelligence and media outlets.

The letter by Raskin and Garcia warned SpaceX's president, Gwynne Shotwell, that the alleged use of Starlink by Russian forces represented "a serious threat to Ukraine's security, Ukrainian lives, and U.S. national security."

The congressmen wrote that they are "concerned that (SpaceX) may not have appropriate guardrails and policies in place."

Musk has denied that SpaceX has sold any Starlink units to Russia and said that Starlink would not connect to any devices there.

Both military intelligence and media reports said that Russian forces connected Starlink in occupied Ukraine, not on Russian territory.

Despite Musk's denials, Ukraine's military intelligence said that Russia has allegedly been purchasing Starlink terminals from "Arab countries," citing intercepted communications.

It did not specify which countries it referred to.

The congressmen's letter also said that Russia may be using third-party countries to illegally purchase Starlink, and requested answers on how the company is working to prevent the unauthorized trade of the terminals.

The letter said the investigation is in its early stages, and the congressmen plan to contact the Pentagon and other relevant agencies.

SpaceX began providing the Starlink terminals 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.

Russian military uses Starlink inside Ukraine, intelligence confirms
Russia has Starlink terminals and is increasingly using them on the front line in Ukraine, Ukrainian military intelligence confirmed on Feb. 11.
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