On February 24th, Russia launched their invasion on Ukraine, attacking Chernobyl, Kiev, Odessa, and Separatist Regions. Following the attack, Ukraine’s internet reported it had fallen ten percent below normal connectivity. Two days later, the Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense publicly called upon Elon Musk for his support. Ten hours later, Elon replied stating Starlink service was now active in Ukraine.
As a result of Starlink’s activation, the citizens and the government of Ukraine will be able to use free high-speed internet during the Russian invasion. This means that regardless of digital infrastructure attacks, Ukraine’s network will remain online. Putin’s cyberattacks will no longer be effective under these new battlefield conditions, nor does Russia have the technological capability to come close to competing with Starlink.
This marks the first time that Starlink will be implemented throughout a largely populated city, and the first time it will be publicly used as a defensive maneuver in combat. Thanks to Starlink, the Ukrainian population can engage in internet access from anywhere, without being tethered to a home router. Residents have the ability to keep connected with their families during the Putin’s offensive attack.
Starlink1 is the internet of the future, according to Elon Musk. Starlink uses low orbiting satellites to provide high-speed internet access to places where traditional internet would be impossible. It also allows connectivity even during natural disasters, and most recently, in times of war. The activation of Starlink over Ukraine is a historic point in its evolution and implementation.
“Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.”
“Using advanced satellites in a low orbit, Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet. Users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s and latency as low as 20ms in most locations.”
“Starlink is ideally suited for areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable. People across the globe are using Starlink to gain access to education, health services and even communications support during natural disasters.”
“Starlink leads the industry in innovations to reduce satellite brightness, minimize the impact on astronomy, and protect the natural night sky for all to enjoy.”Starlink
Starlink is designed to self-destruct at the end of its lifespan, burning itself up in Earth’s atmosphere using a propulsion system. If this propulsion system fails to enact, Starlink will enter Earth’s atmosphere on its own within five years, where it will be incinerated in our atmosphere.
The Possibility of Cyber Attack Begins
On February 15th, 2022, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense announced there had been a possible DDoS attack targeting their Ministry of Defense website. This was reported just nine days before Putin would invade Chernobyl, Kiev, Crimea, and Separatist Regions.
February 15th, 2022
“❗️ The MoD website was probably subjected to a DDoS attack: an excessive number armyfm.com.ua https:// armyinform.com.ua https:// of hits per second was recorded2.”Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
On February 24th, Missile strikes impacted Kiev, Odessa, and Chuhuiv, causing a flood of Ukrainians to flee their homes and beloved cities. Many who fled were unprepared for their departure causing a lack of functioning telecommunication devices between residents. The resulting loss of internet connectivity raised concerns after a lack of communication was reported from several regions in Ukraine which had been overrun by Russian forces.
On February 24th, 2022, these cyberattacks were confirmed. Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov, spoke out on Twitter warning citizens not to panic, reassuring the public that everything was stable.
February 24th, 2022
“It was a tough night in terms of cybersecurity of Ukraine. We’ve been protecting our cyberspace all night. Ukraine is experienced and continues to counter non-stop attacks on main informational sources. As of now everything operates stable. Keep calm and don’t panic3.”Mykhailo Fedorov – Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine
Internet Connectivity Falls in Ukraine
GigaTrans is Ukraine‘s main internet provider. The company reported lower connectivity levels than normal due to the residential displacement of individuals, according to internet monitoring organization Netblocks.
Despite there being no “nation-scale blackouts” there has been a lack of communication from the regions that sustained the most impact from Russian attacks.
“We currently observe national connectivity at 87% of ordinary levels, a figure that reflects service disruptions as well as population flight and the shuttering of homes and businesses since the morning of the 24th,” Alp Toker, director of Netblocks4, told Reuters.
“While there is no nation-scale blackout, little is being heard from the worst affected regions, and for others there’s an ever-present fear that connectivity could worsen at any moment, cutting off friends and family,”Alp Toker – Director of Netblocks
While cyberattacks were not officially targeting civilian internet infrastructure Ukrainian officials voiced concerns of greater loss of connectivity, in result to the Russian invasion. Beyond cyberattacks, the displacement of Ukrainian residents offered a similar loss of connectivity. As a result, Ukrainian leaders began to take action, publicly calling on Elon Musk for his support.
Ukraine Calls On Elon
Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine
Mykhailo Fedorov publicly compared Putin’s invasion of Ukraine with Elon’s obsession with the colonization of Mars tagging @elonmusk. Fedorov stated the resemblance of SpaceX’s rockets to Putin’s missiles on the civilians of Ukraine, calling on Elon Musk to provide Starlink stations to Ukraine. Starlink would enable Ukraine to withstand Russian forces attempts to disrupt their online digital infrastructure during battle.
February 26th, 2022
“@elonmusk, 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.”Mykhailo Fedorov – Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine
On February 26th, at 5:33pm Elon Musk acknowledged the call for his company’s support. After announcing that service was active in Ukraine, Musk began setting up more terminals which would enable Ukrainian civilians low-latency wireless access. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.” announced Musk, responding to the country’s aid. Starlink had begun providing free high-speed internet to all of Ukraine, a devastating blow to Putin’s strategic cyberattacks, which are now unable to physically take down Ukraine’s military telecommunications and civilian’s access internet.
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.”Elon Musk – Starlink, SpaceX, Tesla, Boring, Ect.
Mykhailo Fedorov stated his excitement, thanking both Elon, and everyone who supported Starlink’s activation over Ukraine.
“Starlink terminals are coming to Ukraine! Thank you @elonmusk, thank you everyone, who supported Ukraine5!”Mykhailo Fedorov – Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine
This isn’t the first time Elon has activated Starlink to a country in need. Elon Musk’s Starlink provided internet service to Tonga in January, after the country experienced both volcanic eruption and a tsunami. Following the natural disasters much of the country was technologically isolated from one another. Starlink provided the Tongan citizens free high-speed internet access, allowing their country to rebuild.
“It is rather paradoxical for a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami to bring to our shores the latest in satellite and communications technology,” adding “Elon Musk probably didn’t know much about Tonga until January 15, but gave generously.”Siaosi Sovaleni – Prime Minister of Tonga
Reuters indicated “[t]he service will remain in place and free until a submarine cable connecting the outlying islands with Tonga‘s main island Tongatapu is repaired6.”
The activation of Starlink in Ukraine is a monumental innovation to prevent imperialist takeovers, and the oppressing and depriving citizens of modern essentials, such as internet connectivity. Starlink is technology that can be activated in times of great distress, in order to sustain inhabitable life, and allow a functioning economy to continue, despite what hazardous obstacles may arise. Access to real-time information, has become an essential human right. If Ukrainian residents experienced a nation-wide blackout as a result of the war of their leaders, it could devastate the entire population.
If Putin attempts to launch an attack on Elon Musk’s Starlink, what retaliations would result? Could Elon Musk’s access to Starlink be seen as the first instance of American involvement in the Russian-Ukraine war? While Elon Musk is a seen as a hero for his revolutionary swift actions to aid Ukraine, he continues to work with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to push his Tesla products in the Xinjiang region. Like Ukraine, what other minorities and independent regions will gain Elon’s approval for implementing his technology. Will Elon Musk also defy the CCP, extending Starlink to Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong? Throughout China, many residents have limited access to internet content, due to the Great Firewall of China, which carefully selects the digital reality the regime would like them to perceive. With the ability for Chinese citizens to connect to Starlink, will the CCP be able to modify Elon’s servers? Would Elon Musk dismiss Xi Jinping as easily as he dismissed Putin’s regime?