Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov confirmed his country received a shipment of Starlink equipment after he tweeted at Elon Musk over the weekend asking for “Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”
Musk replied to Fedorov’s tweet that “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.”
Starlink is a satellite internet service that promises to offer broadband speeds by using low-Earth satellites that can transmit signals faster than conventional satellite internet. It uses “terminals,” which are basically small satellite dishes, to receive the signal. The appeal in a warzone is obvious, as the signal cannot be easily cut off or intercepted by an invading force.
But, as Starlink is still in beta, the service is often spotty, slow, and plagued by outages. And it is difficult to judge the status of Ukrainian internet service from abroad. Third-party monitors suggest internet traffic is down about 13 percent, especially from the regions with the heaviest fighting. Reuters reports that, according to the Monash IP Observatory in Australia, “only the Obolonskyi district of Kyiv and central parts of Kharkiv, in Ukraine's east, showed clear signs of internet failure.”
As for Fedorov’s request that Musk “address sane Russians to stand,” that request is still outstanding.