SpaceX further limits Starlink service in Ukraine

21 March, 09:47 PM
Starlink is actively used to coordinate combat operations (Photo:Ministry of Defense of Ukraine)

Starlink is actively used to coordinate combat operations (Photo:Ministry of Defense of Ukraine)

The operation of Starlink satellite internet terminals in Ukraine is restricted not only in war zones and Russia-occupied territories, but also when traveling on land at speeds above 100 km/h or when used on water, the Economist reported on March 21, citing a source in the Ukrainian military.

Ukrainian troops relied heavily on Starlink during the initial stages of Russia’s full-scale invasion. The satellites, operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, played a crucial role during the Ukrainian drone attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, when Russia’s frigate Admiral Makarov was damaged.

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About 20,000 Starlink terminals are also used for artillery fire correction, coordinating maneuvers, conducting aerial reconnaissance, and providing communications between units in remote areas.

The Economist writes that Elon Musk became “concerned” about “escalating” the situation, so he limited the use of Starlink terminals for military purposes. That led to the Armed Forces of Ukraine losing access to satellite Internet in active warzones and Russia-occupied areas of the country.

It has now been revealed that Starlink is also using geofencing to block the use of its terminals over water and when the receiver is moving at speeds over 100 km/h.

“You can put the terminal in a boat at sea and it just stops working,” says the source in the AFU.

Because of this, the Ukrainian military must now rely on other, more expensive communications systems.

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