Elon Musk warns that Starlink hardware in Ukraine could be caught in the crosshairs

Kyiv, Ukraine - Expert warnings about Starlink hardware's potential risks have been echoed, as Elon Musk issued an alert on the risks of using SpaceX's satellite internet in war-torn Ukraine.

Elon Musk warned that Starlink hardware could be targeted in Ukraine.
Elon Musk warned that Starlink hardware could be targeted in Ukraine.  © Collage: IMAGO / YAY Images, ZUMA Wire, 123RF.com/vectora (Stock)

Elon Musk sent a serious warning via Twitter stating that Starlink devices in Ukraine could now be targeted by Russian military strikes.

"Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution."

Musk also tweeted basic safety instructions for Ukrainian users: "Turn on Starlink only when needed and place antenna away as far away from people as possible."

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The warning comes shortly after University of Toronto's Scott John-Railton, an expert on connectivity in wars, dropped a detailed Twitter thread and said that Starlink receiving dishes can be tracked and targeted for military strikes.

SpaceX brought the Starlink satellite internet service online for Ukraine on February 26, after Musk directly responded to a request from the country's Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov.

Fedorov reached out to Musk again to request advice on power supply for internet receiving dishes, and Musk said that plans are in the works to update the systems' power use so they can even run on the power from a car's cigarette lighter.

Internet outages across Ukraine

Destroyed buildings and infrastructure have impacted Ukraine's internet access.
Destroyed buildings and infrastructure have impacted Ukraine's internet access.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

According to internet monitor NetBlocks, the GigaTrans, which is basically the backbone of Ukrainian internet connectivity, suffered major disruption of service at the start of Russia's invasion.

NetBlocks updated to confirm that GigaTrans had regained some of its stable internet capabilities, but Russia's destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure has caused outages for regular Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Broadband World News reported that major ISPs in Ukraine are dealing with partial internet outages, especially in regions with heavy fighting.

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Outages due to destroyed data centers have been rolling through regions such as Luhansk, Donetsk, and Kharkiv, as well as many cities, including Kharkiv, Melitopol, and the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.


Although Starlink is already being put to use in Ukraine to help the country stay connected, it is still a new tech, untested in a war zone.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / YAY Images, ZUMA Wire, 123RF.com/vectora (Stock)

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