TechRussia barred from Starlink in military tech crackdown by SpaceX

Russia barred from Starlink in military tech crackdown by SpaceX

The Starlink system discovered in occupied Donetsk, Ukraine
The Starlink system discovered in occupied Donetsk, Ukraine
Images source: © Getty Images | Pierre Crom
Paweł Maziarz

27 June 2024 20:21

Russia will not use Starlink technology. SpaceX has partnered with the U.S. military to block illegal use of satellite terminals. However, this solution may not be fully effective.

Starlink is an innovative project developed by SpaceX. Its main goal is to provide satellite internet access to every corner of our planet. Satellites orbiting the Earth and terminals used to receive the signal play a vital role in this endeavour. This solution works perfectly in many places worldwide that do not have a traditional network infrastructure.

At the beginning of 2022, SpaceX decided to activate the Starlink service in Ukraine. The solution proved invaluable for troops on the front line. This technology enables fast communication and data transmission over long distances, which is extremely important on the modern battlefield.

At the beginning of 2024, it was revealed that Russian troops were also using the terminals. Restrictions were ineffective because the equipment was purchased through intermediaries, and payment was made with foreign cards. According to announcements, appropriate steps have been taken to limit such situations.

SpaceX blocks Russian terminals

Amanda Dory from the Pentagon confirmed that SpaceX actively cooperated with the U.S. military to block illegally used satellite communication terminals. However, the details of the operation were not disclosed.

It is known that the scale of illegally used equipment was enormous. According to the Pentagon representative, about one in a hundred terminals in Ukraine were considered illegal, probably referring to temporarily occupied territories.

The problem cannot be completely eliminated

Standard methods cannot completely eliminate the problem. Dory emphasised that the Pentagon is aware that the Russians are adapting to the situation and will likely look for new ways to gain access to modern communication tools. After blocking one device, it is simply enough to buy another.

Experts suggest that a better solution would be to create a list of Ukrainian terminals that can operate in Ukraine and block the remaining devices, preventing the Russians from illegally using the technology.

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