'Starlink service is now active': Musk responds to Ukraine's SOS
Billionaire Elon Musk on Saturday said his company SpaceX's Starlink satellite broadband service had been activated in Ukraine. "Starlink service is now active in Ukraine," Musk tweeted, adding, "More terminals en route." Notably, Musk was responding to a tweet by Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov, who urged the billionaire to provide his embattled country with Starlink stations.
Why does this story matter?
- The development comes days after Ukraine was invaded by neighboring Russia.
- Ukraine has seen a "series of significant disruptions to internet service" since Thursday when Russia launched a massive military operation against the country, internet monitor NetBlocks said.
- Notably, Russia launched the military operation in Ukraine after weeks of border tensions over the latter's wish to join the United States-led international military alliance NATO.
What did Ukrainian Minister say?
Tagging Musk, Ukrainian Minister Fedorov on Saturday tweeted, "While you (Elon Musk) try to colonize Mars—Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space—Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people (sic)!" "We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations," Fedorov added. He also called on the billionaire "to address sane Russians to stand" against their government's invasion.
Internet connectivity affected in Ukraine due to war: Report
Meanwhile, Ukraine's internet connectivity has been affected due to the Russian invasion, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country where fighting has been the heaviest, Reuters reported. "We currently observe national connectivity at 87% of ordinary levels, a figure that reflects service disruptions as well as population flight and the shuttering of homes and businesses," said Alp Toker, Director of NetBlocks.
How will Starlink service help?
The Starlink service is expensive to deploy. The satellite technology can provide internet to people in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. It can also be a critical backstop when communication is disrupted by hurricanes or other natural disasters. As of January, SpaceX had 1,469 satellites active with 272 more moving to operational orbits soon.
Russian invasion has left 200 people dead
The weekslong tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border escalated dramatically on Thursday after Moscow launched a "military operation" in Ukraine. While Kyiv is fighting back fiercely, reports of intense fighting are coming from the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Russian offensive has reportedly left nearly 200 people in Ukraine dead since Thursday. Over 1,50,000 people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began.