‘Superhero’ Elon Musk Gives Ukraine Starlink Satellite Internet After Plea For Help

Founder and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk might be Ukraine’s real-life ‘superhero’, at least to Vice Prime Minister, and minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov.

On February 26th an appeal from Fedorov was posted on Twitter asking billionaire Elon Musk for help, and to turn on the Starlink satellites over Ukraine.  Some felt it was a bit strange for such a request to be communicated through a social media platform like Twitter, which has been known for its controversy around political bias, rather than a distinguished and private personal phone call between the two.

Elon responded hours later to the Tweet, letting Ukraine know Starlink satellite services are now active in Ukraine and more is on the way.

Starlink is a low latency, broadband internet that is projected to blanket the planet and theoretically bring connectivity to billions of people who lack reliable internet access.

The social media exchanges between Musk and Fedorov took place as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his country’s armed forces to be placed on high alert.

So far Ukraine has experienced “intermittent” power outages, and according to a senior US defense official, the internet is still “generally available.” However, according to Georgia Tech’s Internet Outage Detection and Analysis (IODA) project, which monitors internet usage, Ukraine reported serious outages that began around February 23rd

Prior to invading Ukraine, Russia has been targeting them with cyberattacks, like on January 15th when malware was injected and a DDoS attack was employed on Ukrainian websites.  Some may recall back in 2016 a Russian cyberattack turned off the power supply of Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.

Currently, it’s not clear how widely accessible the Starlink satellite service is in Ukraine and exactly how much help it will provide to the country.  

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