South African Born Billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted Saturday evening that the company’s Starlink satellite internet service “is now active in Ukraine” with “more terminals en route.”
Musk’s announcement came in direct response to a plea from a Ukrainian government official for more Starlink stations amid a Russian invasion that disrupted Ukraine’s internet services.
“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.”
@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 26, 2022
Musk responded just 10 hours later, saying he had granted the request. It wasn’t immediately clear how widely accessible the Starlink service would be in Ukraine.
In response to Musk’s announcement, the official Twitter account for Ukraine tweeted, “Thanx, appreciate it.”
Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2022
Internet connectivity throughout Ukraine has been affected by the invasion, though the extent wasn’t immediately clear on Saturday. Connectivity to the country’s main internet provider even briefly plunged by 20% on Friday, internet monitors told Reuters, adding that it was unclear how much of that was caused by Ukrainians fleeing 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 growing network of private satellites hovering in a low orbit aiming to provide high-speed internet service around the world. There are more than 1,500 Starlink satellites currentlyoperational.