Ukraine gets 5,000 Starlink internet terminals via SpaceX, USAID

San Francisco: Elon Musk-led SpaceX, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has delivered 5,000 starlink terminals to war-torn Ukraine.

The satellite internet connectivity of Ukraine was taken offline permanently by a cyberattack on the day of the Russian invasion on February 24.

“The Starlink satellite terminals will enable unlimited, unthrottled data connectivity from anywhere in Ukraine,” the USAID said in a statement.

The terminals will also allow public officials and critical citizen service providers to continue to communicate within Ukraine and with the rest of the world.

It can withstand even Russia’s “brutal aggression” which severed Ukraine’s fibre optic or cellular communication infrastructure connections, the USAID said.

SpaceX has delivered 3,667 satellites at a cost of “roughly $10 million,” with USAID purchasing the remaining 1,333 terminals, according to an earlier USAID release.

On February 26, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister, also Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, called Musk for help as Ukraine fought off an invasion and sustained cyberattacks by Russian forces.

“While you try to colonise 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 and to address sane Russians to stand,” Fedorov had tweeted.

In response, Musk promised to send a truck full of Starlink user terminals to Ukraine.

“The cell towers are either being blown up or they are being jammed. There is a major fibre backbone which the Russians are aware of. It was quite likely that they will sever that fibre link. This would leave Ukraine with very few connections open. So Starlink might be, certainly in some parts of Ukraine, the only connection,” Musk said in an interview with German publishing company Axel Springer

“We did think that Starlink might be needed, and we took some preemptive actions to ensure that it could be provided quickly. When the request came, we acted very rapidly.

“We cannot let Putin take over Ukraine. This is crazy,” he added.

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