December 2, 2022

Ukrainian Starlink Units Go Dark Over Funding Issues – Report

Kiev is concerned about losing access to Elon Musk’s internet service when the US or UK doesn’t step in to pay.

Some 1, 300 Starlink satellite terminals went offline in Ukraine last week due to a failure to pay the military’s internet expenses, deepening fears that the nation will no longer be able to afford the pricey satellite service, two sources familiar with the situation told CNN on Friday.    

The terminals, all part of a  consignment  purchased from a British company in March, started to go dark on October 24 due to lack of financing, causing a “ huge problem ” for Kiev’s military.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, aware of the dues and its  incapability to pay, asked the UK to get $3. 25 million to cover the monthly cost and rotated the terminals away from use to avoid blackouts from crucial times. However , the particular request was turned down.    

Starlink parent company SpaceX alerted the Pentagon in Sept that it could no longer pay out the full cost of Ukraine’s Starlink usage, asking Washington to get the  bill, according to CNN.

With around 25, 000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine, Musk estimated the military’s use of the assistance would cost nearly $400 million over the next a year. Fewer than 11, 000 were being paid for at the time he wrote to the Pentagon.  

Musk then appeared to change his thoughts about footing the expenses for the service a few days afterwards, tweeting “ We’ll just keep funding Ukraine for free . ”  

However , a senior defense official told CNN that SpaceX offers continued negotiating with the Pentagon, adding that officials are eager to get Musk in order to commit resources in writing simply because they fear he will change their mind.  

He has reportedly refused to work Starlink in Crimea, fearing this would invite an escalation from Moscow, while Western media have accused him of hindering the network’s operation by Ukrainian soldiers in Russian-controlled areas, which usually Musk denies. Last 30 days, he warned that however the company has “ diverted massive resources toward defense ” as the Russian military attempts to consider the system out, “ Starlink may still pass away . ”

Moscow believes Starlink is really a legitimate target, reasoning the US and its allies are actually using “ elements of the civilian space infrastructure, including commercial, for military purposes . ” Because “ essentially comprises an involvement in military action through a proxy , ” the “ quasi-civilian ” satellite television network is fair online game, Russian diplomat Konstantin Vorontsov told the UN last month.

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