Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites coming up big for Ukraine

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Ukraine doesn’t boast Russia’s firepower, but it has its own game-changer: Elon Musk.

The billionaire Tesla CEO is widely credited for playing a huge role in Ukraine’s defense, providing his Starlink satellite internet service after the Russian invasion last February disrupted local internet services.

His SpaceX-owned service has installed thousands of terminals to keep the Ukrainian military online.

“He’s really saving the day for Ukraine,” Todd Humphreys, an aerospace engineering professor at the University of Texas told The Sunday Times of London.

Starlink has also improved Ukraine’s drone attacks, the newspaper reported. One Ukrainian naval drone was found in Sevastopol, Crimean headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, late last year with a Starlink dish lashed to its stern.

“Musk has put in the hands of the Ukrainian military the power of the Internet, which can be used in all sorts of ways,” said General Sir Richard Barrons, the former head of the United Kingdom forces command.

SpaceX installed thousands of Starlink terminals to allow the Ukrainian military to access the internet.REUTERS/Steve Nesius

“Having the Internet is profoundly important to the way the war is being fought,” he added. “Soldiers can flip down a screen showing a tactical map of the battlefield, helping to promote common situational awareness of where the enemy is. It makes a big difference.”

Despite his efforts, Musk’s relationship with Ukraine isn’t all rosy.

He came under fire from President Volodymyr Zelensky last October for suggesting Ukraine should end the war by conceding Crimea to Russia, as well as doing an UN-supervised “redo” of elections that Russia staged to annex several regions of the country.

Starlink has reportedly helped Ukraine launch drone strikes on Russia.Craig Bailey-USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany even wrote on Twitter: “F–k off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk.”

Musk initially threatened to pull funding to keep the service running but never shut it down. The Sunday Times reported it’s unclear who’s picking up Ukraine’s tab but added the United States is believed to be carrying some of the cost.

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