Elon Musk, SpaceX founder, says the company’s Starlink satellite internet service has been activated in Ukraine.
Musk’s made the announcement in a tweet after a Ukrainian government official pleaded for Starlink stations amid the Russian invasion that disrupted Ukraine’s internet service.
Internet connectivity in Ukraine has been badly affected by the Russian invasion, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the country where fighting has been heaviest, NetBlocks, an internet blockage observatory said.
GigaTrans, Ukraine’s main internet provider, reportedly witnessed a drop in connectivity to below 20 percent of normal levels before returning to higher levels in the early hours of Friday morning.
“We currently observe national connectivity at 87 percent of ordinary levels, a figure that reflects service disruptions as well as population flight and the shuttering of homes and businesses since the morning of the 24th,” Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, told Reuters.
“While there is no nation-scale blackout, little is being heard from the worst affected regions, and for others there’s an ever-present fear that connectivity could worsen at any moment, cutting off friends and family.’
”A disruption to Ukraine’s telecommunication networks could affect civilian defense groups that have been mobilising to defend their cities.”
Mykhailo Fedorov, vice-prime minister of Ukraine, tweeted at Musk, requesting the activation of Starlink service.
“While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try (sic) to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people,” he tweeted.
“We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”
In about 10 hours later, Musk responded, granting the request.
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” he said in response the minister’s tweet.