Pentagon pays for Starlink services for Ukraine

The Pentagon confirmed that they were paying for Starlink broadband satellite Internet services for Ukraine. Although SpaceX has previously said that the service is not intended for military use, the US military continues to emphasize its importance for the functioning of the state, reflecting the aggression of Russia.

Starlink in Ukraine. Source: AFP/Getty Images

Pentagon pays for Internet

The US military department confirms that they are paying for broadband Internet for Ukraine. It is provided by Starlink satellites, which belong to SpaceX. This is said in a statement released on June 1. 

“Satellite communications constitute a vital layer in Ukraine’s overall communications network and the department contracts with Starlink for services of this type. We continue to work with a range of global partners to ensure Ukraine has the satellite and communication capabilities they need,” Ars Technica reports, citing a statement from the Ministry of Defense.

It is not known for certain what exactly satellite Internet is used in Ukraine, which is paid for by the Pentagon. Representatives of the military department refused to answer this question, citing the need to maintain secrecy.

Disputes over Starlink for Ukraine

The history with the supply of satellite Internet from Starlink is long and complicated. Since the beginning of Russia’s large-scale aggression, the whole world has learned that the Russians are actively destroying ground communication systems and this is part of their information war. In response to this, the owner of SpaceX, Elon Musk, not only opened access for Ukraine to the relatively uncommon and new technology at that time, but also provided several thousand packages for using it.

Very quickly, Ukraine became a world leader in the use of Starlink. It was used by both civilians and the military. However, already in September 2022, Musk said that he had been providing the Internet at a loss all this time and said that he could stop providing it if no one paid for it. 

Then the American military managed to calm the entrepreneur, saying that they would find a way out. However, at the beginning of 2023, the management of SpaceX put forward new claims. Chief Operating Officer of the company Gwynne Shotwell said that Starlink was not intended for use by the military and its capabilities for Ukrainian users would be limited.

Then Shotwell’s demonstrative peacefulness greatly angered Ukrainians. Because at the same time with such pacifist statements, SpaceX announced back in December that it was developing a partner project called Starshield.

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