Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite service has been launched in Ukraine

Elon Musk, the creator of SpaceX, tweeted on Saturday evening that the company’s Starlink satellite internet service “is now operating in Ukraine” and that “additional terminals are on the way.”

Musk’s declaration came in response to a request from a Ukrainian government official for more Starlink stations in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which interrupted the country’s internet services.

Musk activates Starlink satellites in response to Ukraine’s plea.

“While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people!” Mykhailo Fedorov, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, tweeted at Musk earlier on Saturday. “We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”

Musk answered 10 hours later, stating that the request had been approved. It was unclear how broadly the Starlink service would be available in Ukraine at the time.

“Thanx, appreciate it,” said Ukraine’s official Twitter account in reaction to Musk’s statement

The invasion has disrupted internet access across Ukraine; however, the extent of the disruption remained unclear on Saturday. According to internet monitors, connectivity to the country’s primary internet provider dropped by 20% on Friday, but it’s unclear how much of it was due to Ukrainians abandoning their homes.

“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 NetBlocks, told the news outlet.

SpaceX’s Starlink is a developing network of commercial satellites in low orbit that aims to give high-speed internet access to people all over the world. There are presently around 1,500 Starlink satellites in service.

It wasn’t the first time SpaceX volunteered to provide Starlink terminals to countries in need on Saturday. Musk previously volunteered to deliver the terminals to Tonga, where internet service had been cut across the country due to a volcano eruption.

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