Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starlink won’t block Russian media ‘unless

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    Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Saturday stated that his company won’t block access to Russian news sources on its Starlink satellite system “unless at gunpoint.” In a Twitter post, the tech tycoon informed that he was asked by some governments to block Russian media from broadcasting on SpaceX’s internet system, which Musk refused. Besides clarifying that Ukraine was not one of the countries making the request, Musk did not reveal which nations approached him with the request.

    Musk’s decision to avoid banning Russian media from Starlink comes as social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube last week restricted monetisation of Russian content as well as blocked Moscow-owned RT News from broadcasting. In a series of tweets, the multi-billionaire entrepreneur expressed solidarity with Ukrainians. He also extended sympathies to the Russians who “do not want” war.

    “And also my sympathies to the great people of Russia, who do not want this,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote in a Twitter post.

    To note, SpaceX’s Starlink system is a satellite mega-constellations designed to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband internet access. It is mainly focused on remote or underserved areas. To build the network, the company has launched over 2,000 satellites since 2019. Starlink’s internet service is currently active in Ukraine after SpaceX sent antennas and terminals to the country on February 28 after widespread outages and communication disruptions were reported due to the “unprovoked and unjustified” Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

    Ukraine to recieve Starlink systems for destroyed cities: Zelenskyy

    Meanwhile, Ukraine is set to recieve another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed Ukrainian cities from the Russian invasion and subsequent arbitrary bombings. In a Twitter post, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday asserted that he spoke to the Tesla boss Musk over potential projects in Ukraine. Zelenskyy also confirmed that Musk has promised to send a batch of the systems that provide high-speed internet from space with satellites flying in low Earth orbit.

    Musk has also warned users of Starlink to undertake safety measures to ensure they are not targetted by Russian forces. “Starlink is the only non-Russian communication system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so the probability of being targetted is high. Please use with caution,” Musk tweeted on March 3. He also added that Starlink signals around conflict zones in Ukraine were jammed for several hours, which prompted SpaceX to shift focus to cyber security. “SpaceX reprioritised to cyber defense & overcoming signal jamming. Will cause slight delays in Starship & Starlink V2,” he wrote.

    For a recap, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started on February 24. Observing the threat to international security and devastation in Ukraine, several western nations have continued to impose sweeping sanctions on Russia to push the withdrawal of forces from its ex-Soviet neighbour. Meanwhile, delegations from Moscow and Kyiv have engaged in two rounds of peace talks in the last weeks with the coming sitting expected on March 7.

    (Image: AP/Shutterstock)

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