Ukraine’s hunger for Starlink services continues unabated, and several EU countries have stepped in to help the war-torn nation foot the bill for another 10,000 terminals to be delivered in the coming months.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said a deal has yet to be signed, but the EU states that have pledged help have solved the financial problems Kyiv needs to keep the service running for military and civilian purposes . Fedorov declined to name the countries providing funds.
“We have many Starlinks, but the key point is that we received a commitment for another shipment, which will be used to stabilize the link in critical situations,” Fedorov said, adding that Ukraine still needs to find additional funds, to keep up their Starlink connections come spring.
Clashes between Ukrainian officials and the CEO of SpaceX/Starlink/Tesla/Twitter and the second richest person on Earth, Elon Musk, began in October after it was revealed that SpaceX had told the Pentagon it was not enthusiastic about continuing to support Starlink – to pay for services in Ukraine.
After a setback, Musk “surrendered,” saying his company will “just keep funding the Ukrainian government for free.” It’s unclear if that overture has since been withdrawn, although Fedorov continued to say SpaceX and Musk were helpful and sympathetic to the situation.
“Musk has assured us that he will continue to support Ukraine. When we had a severe power outage, I sent him a message that day and he immediately responded and has already taken some steps,” Fedorov said.
Russia is watching
Shortly after Musk and Kyiv fell out over the Starlink service, Russia said it was considering classifying commercial space systems like Starlink as legitimate military targets if they continued to be used by Russia’s other military targets.
Russia’s deputy head of its UN delegation specifically warned that Moscow could attack Starlink’s actual satellites, but base stations don’t appear to be ruled out. Fedorov told Bloomberg the new antennas are necessary “to counter Russian airstrikes” that are believed to be taking out Starlink antennas and disrupting Ukrainian military operations.
The arms dealer claims he has a Starlink terminal communications detection radar
That is, unless Russian forces first start using technology from Sestroretsk Arms, which has a product called “Borshchevik,” which it claims has Starlink terminals within 5 to 60 meters at a range of up to 10 kilometers can locate.
The company claims that Borschchevik can be mounted on vehicles for frontline use, while also being able to define the locations of up to 64 terminals. It’s unclear if the technology is real or what stage of development it might be at. Sestroretsk Arms has an order form for the Borshchevik available on its website, but it makes no mention of actual availability or delivery dates.
A post on a Telegram channel linked to Russian paramilitaries claims that the Borshchevik is in its final testing phase, which could spell trouble for Ukrainian forces who appear to be in no hurry to find a Starlink replacement. ®
https://www.theregister.com/2022/12/21/ukraine_secures_10k_more_starlink/ Ukraine secures 10,000 more Starlink recipients with EU help • The Register