Russian military increasingly deploys Starlink terminals to frontline positions in Ukraine

Starlink terminal at the Russian position in the occupied part of Ukraine
Starlink terminal at the Russian position in the occupied part of Ukraine

The Russian military is reportedly increasingly using Starlink terminals at their positions in Ukraine, purchasing them through third countries, Ukrainian military news outlet Militarnyi reported on Feb. 10, citing Kyiv-based engineer Oleh Kutkov, engaged in Starlink terminals for the Ukrainian military.

Read also: US Senate to probe Musk's decision to deny Ukraine Starlink access for attacks on Crimea - Bloomberg

"In fact, the Russians have begun to actively use terminals on the front line," he said.

The terminals are being purchased through third countries and resold by Russian resellers.

"It is impossible to trace and cover up these schemes, because our volunteers 'sweep' terminals in all countries and pay from different cards," Kutkov explained.

While the terminals operate only in Ukraine, it is impossible to distinguish which side on the front line owns a particular terminal in the 20-kilometer zone, as they all use the same channel and satellite scheduler.

"So either everyone is working or no one is working," he said, adding that a large concentration of terminals in one area leads to system overload and a decrease in speed.

Read also: Ukrainian forces destroy Russian 'satellite killer' weapon 'Triada' in Donetsk sector — video

SpaceX, the company behind Starlink, has said it does not do business with the Russian government or its armed forces and will take steps to deactivate terminals if they are being used by unauthorized parties.

"Starlink is not active in Russia, which means the service will not work in that country. SpaceX has never sold Starlink in Russia, nor has it delivered equipment to Russia," the company said.

Earlier, the director of the New Geopolitics Research Network and military expert Mykhailo Samus questioned whether it is possible to flash Starlink without Elon Musk's knowledge.

"There are very interesting questions here,” Samus said in an interview with Radio NV.

“Isn't this evidence that Elon Musk is starting to support Russia, starting to support [Russian dictator Vladimir] Putin?" Samus said.

Read also: Musk denies treason allegations over restricting Ukraine’s access to Starlink

Earlier, during an online discussion on his X platform (formerly Twitter), Elon Musk proposed "restoring normal relations" with Russia by ceding parts of Ukrainian territory to it, The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 23.

The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee is investigating SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk's decision not to activate the Starlink satellite network over occupied Crimea, Bloomberg reported on Sept. 15, citing Committee Chairman Jack Reed.

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