Elon Musk activates Starlink internet service in Ukraine to help

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    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Saturday that his company’s Starlink satellite broadband service has been activated in Ukraine amid a crisis following Russia’s invasion. Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov had pleaded with Musk to provide satellite-based communications to help resist the invasion. Responding to Fedorov, Musk tweeted, “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine,” adding that “more terminals are en route.”

    Earlier in a tweet addressed to the billionaire, Fedorov had said, “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.” He called on Musk “to address sane Russians to stand” against their government’s invasion.

    Fedorov later thanked Elon Musk and Ukraine’s ambassador to USA Oksana Markarova for swift decisions that allowed Ukraine to activate the Starlink service.

    Ukraine has seen a “series of significant disruptions of internet service” since Russia launched military operations in the country on Thursday. Starlink operates a constellation of over 2,000 satellites that ease internet access across the planet. The activation of Starlink services would circumvent Russia’s attempts to cut off Ukraine’s internet from the world.

    Russia-Ukraine war

    For weeks, Moscow massed over 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders in a bid to pressurize Western nations to not allow Ukraine to join NATO, threatening an invasion. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a special military operation in Ukraine’s Donbas region, which quickly accelerated into precision airstrikes on Kyiv, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, deployed tanks towards Lviv from the Belarus-Ukraine border.

    The Russian Navy is attacking from the shores of Mariupol and Odesa, and troops have taken over Chernobyl nuclear plant, heading towards capital Kyiv.

    As of Saturday, a military faceoff was underway between Russian and Ukrainian Armies in Sumy, Poltava, Mariupol including heavy air attacks, missiles from the sea, air, and land. Over 100,000 Ukrainians have fled and many are housed in bomb shelters. Foreign nationals including Indians are being evacuated via Hungary and Romania.

    In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has announced ‘maximum impact’ sanctions on Russia targeting the country’s financial, energy, and transport sectors, visa policy, and exports among other areas. The US has levied sanctions on Russian banks, limited international trade with Moscow, froze assets of Putin’s inner circle.

    Image: AP/Shutterstock

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