SpaceX restricts Ukraine from using satellite internet to control drones

SpaceX CEO Gwynne Shotwell said that SpaceX will limit its ability to use the Starlink Internet satellite service to control Ukrainian drones. According to Ms. Shotwell, the company never intended to allow the use of Starlink “for offensive purposes”.

A Ukrainian soldier disconnects a Starlink terminal in the Luhansk region. (Photo: Reuters)

SpaceX’s sudden decision immediately received complaints from Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy.

Not long after Russia entered Ukraine in early 2022, in response to an offer on Twitter from Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, Elon Musk – SpaceX CEO agrees to provide Starlink to this country. “Starlink has been activated in Ukraine,” Musk wrote. SpaceX itself ships many trucks carrying Starlink equipment to Ukraine. Some countries such as the US and France also partially sponsor.

The Ukrainian military uses Starlink to support the control of a large network of surveillance drones, making an important contribution to tracking the opponent’s movements. They quickly became dependent on Musk’s Internet network because domestic Internet services were not restored due to war, power outages or simply being in the outback.

According to SpaceX leaders, they can and have done a number of things to prevent Ukraine from using Starlink to control drones. According to Ms. Shotwell, based on the agreement between SpaceX and the Ukrainian government, satellite Internet will serve humanitarian purposes such as providing broadband Internet to hospitals, banks and families affected by the war.

(According to Time, Reuters)

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