Pentagon Blocks Russian Military Use of SpaceX's Starlink Terminals: Report

Specifics regarding the tactics and procedures employed to counter this misuse were not disclosed
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  • 01:42 PM, May 10, 2024
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Pentagon Blocks Russian Military Use of SpaceX's Starlink Terminals: Report

The Pentagon has thwarted attempts by the Russian military to use SpaceX's Starlink satellite communication terminals.

This effort was confirmed to Bloomberg by John Plumb, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, who disclosed that the United States collaborated closely with Ukraine and SpaceX to counter Russia's unauthorized utilization of Starlink Internet terminals.

"The United States has actively cooperated with the government of Ukraine and SpaceX to counter Russia's illegal use of Starlink terminals," Plumb stated.

The United States has long opposed the Russian military's use of Starlink, but Plumb emphasized that Russia has been trying to circumvent these restrictions. While specifics regarding the tactics and procedures employed to counter this misuse were not disclosed, Plumb expressed confidence in the effectiveness of the measures taken.

This development follows previous controversies surrounding the use of Starlink during conflicts in Ukraine. In February 2023, reports surfaced that SpaceX had intervened to prevent the Ukrainian military from utilizing Starlink for drone operations against Russian forces. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president and chief operating officer, clarified at the time that Starlink was not intended for military use beyond its contractual agreements with Ukraine.

Amid the ongoing tensions, Elon Musk made headlines by transferring control of some Starlink terminals used by defense forces to the Pentagon in September 2023, distancing SpaceX from responsibilities associated with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Earlier this year, Musk vehemently denied reports of Starlink terminals being employed by Russian occupying forces, asserting that SpaceX does not sell these terminals to the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, in response to the limitations imposed on Starlink, Ukraine has been exploring alternatives. In April, it was announced that Kyivstar, Ukraine's largest mobile operator, would represent the British company OneWeb in the country. OneWeb owns a satellite constellation that provides broadband internet services, offering an alternative to SpaceX's Starlink.

"We are currently testing OneWeb technology with some defense forces. We will be the official representative of the company in Ukraine," stated Kostyantyn Vechir, B2B director of Kyivstar, during the Business Wisdom Summit.

Vechir emphasized that OneWeb's satellite network can deliver high-speed internet, particularly in challenging conditions, presenting a viable option amid evolving geopolitical dynamics.

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