Musk agrees to help Ukrainian government

Elon Musk has claimed that SpaceX-operated Starlink satellite internet constellation now “active” in Ukraine

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk claimed on Saturday that his satellite internet program Starlink now covers Ukraine after a request for aid from the country’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov.

Fedorov had published an open letter to Musk on Saturday, which read, “While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people!”

“We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand,” the vice prime minister requested.

Musk soon accepted the request, tweeting, “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” and was thanked by the country for his decision.

thanx, appreciate it https://t.co/OWm2Yu2WKC

— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) February 26, 2022

Commentators speculated that the Starlink announcement would make it impossible for Russia to power off Ukraine’s internet as conflict with Russia continues into its fourth day. The Kremlin has expressed no such intention, however, while platforms such as Facebook and YouTube unveiled restrictions targeting Russian media.

Musk’s Starlink project intends to place enough satellites in orbit to provide internet access to the entire globe. SpaceX has already launched more than 1,700 satellites into orbit, with a plan for as many as 40,000 satellites in total.

The Russian military has maintained that they target military infrastructure only after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a “special operation” in Ukraine early on Thursday. The operation, which the Kremlin said was a response to the 8-year-long military conflict between newly-recognized Donbass republics and Kiev, has seen the Russian forces engaging targets all over Ukraine.

Putin argued that the offensive was necessary to “defend” the people of Lugansk and Donetsk republics from Kiev’s “aggression,” arguing that the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements that should have paved way for a peaceful settlement between Kiev and Donbass, envisioning more autonomy for the embattled region, have never materialized.

The Donbass has been in a state of military conflict with the government in Kiev since the US-backed 2014 coup that brought down the elected government of Ukraine. Kiev branded the separatists fighting the Ukrainian forces “terrorists,” with both parties accusing each other of shelling across contact lines.

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