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Musk denies selling Starlink terminals to Russia after Kyiv alleges use

A Falcon 9 rocket launches a Starlink mission from Florida on February 27, 2023.


Ukraine’s top military intelligence agency accused Russian forces of using Starlink terminals produced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in occupied areas.

Starlink has been inflexible that its satellite networks have never operated or marketed in Russia, after its terminals were delivered to Ukraine following the February 2022 invasion, in order to facilitate battlefield communications for Ukrainian forces.

“Several fake news stories claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia. This is categorically false,” Musk posted Sunday on the social media platform X, which he also owns.

“To our knowledge, no Starlink has been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.”

kyiv’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) claimed on Sunday that there was growing evidence that the equipment was being used by Russian forces in the partially occupied Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

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“Yes, cases of use of these devices by Russian occupiers have been recorded. This is beginning to acquire a systemic character,” GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov told RBC-Ukraine.

In a statement on its website, the GUR said radio interceptions of conversations between Russian forces showed that Starlink terminals had been installed in units of Russia’s 83rd Assault Brigade operating in Donetsk, near the cities of Klischiivka and Andriivka.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond when approached by CNBC for comment.

In a post on X on February 8, Starlink said that “SpaceX does not do business of any kind with the Russian government or its military.”

“Starlink is not active in Russia, which means the service will not work in that country. SpaceX has never sold or marketed Starlink in Russia, nor has it shipped equipment to locations in Russia. If Russian stores claim to sell Starlink for service in that country, they are scamming their customers.”



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