SpaceX Limits Ukraine’s Use of Starlink

February 12th, 2023 - by Dave DeCamp /

SpaceX Limits Ukraine’s Use of Starlink,
Says It Shouldn’t Be ‘Weaponized’

Dave DeCamp /

(February 9, 2023) — The president of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell, said Wednesday that the company has limited Ukraine’s use of Starlink terminals and that it wasn’t the company’s intention for the satellite internet service to be weaponized.

Shotwell referred to media reports that said Ukraine was using Starlink to spot targets with drones. “There are things that we can do to limit their ability to do that. There are things that we can do, and have done,” she said at a space industry conference in Washington DC, according to Reuters.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his company began providing Starlink terminals to Ukraine shortly after Russia’s invasion. Shotwell said that the terminals were “never meant to be weaponized.”

“However, Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement,” she said. Shotwell added that it was ok if Ukraine’s military was using Starlink for “comms,” but the company’s “intent was never to have them use it for offensive purposes.”

Ukraine has received thousands of Starlink terminals since Russia invaded. Some of them were funded by the US and France, but SpaceX also donated many of the terminals on their own. Musk said in October that providing the terminals would cost his company over $100 million by the end of 2022.

Despite his aid for Ukraine, Musk drew the ire of Ukrainian officials last fall when he floated an idea for a potential peace deal that involved Kyiv giving up its claim to Crimea. Most notably, Andrij Melnyk, a Ukrainian diplomat, told Musk to “F— off.”

Starlink’s terms of service say
the satellite Internet shouldn’t be used
for military operations

“F— off is my very diplomatic reply to you,” Melnyk wrote. “The only outcome ist that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f—ing tesla crap. So good luck to you,” he added in another tweet.At the time, Melnyk was Ukraine’s outgoing ambassador to Germany. In November, Malnyk was appointed as Ukraine’s deputy minister of foreign affairs.

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