Ukraine’s Zelensky thanks Elon Musk for sending Starlink systems

‘I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds,’ president says

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 06 March 2022 12:54 GMT
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
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The Ukrainian president has thanked Elon Musk for setting up the Starlink satellite internet service for “destroyed cities” during the Russian invasion.

Volodymyr Zelensky said he was “grateful” to the Tesla founder for supporting the country under siege with both “words and deeds”.

SpaceX’s Starlink satellites became active over Ukraine earlier this week, helping citizens and authorities to stay connected to the internet as Vladimir Putin’s forces continued to bomb cities across the country.

Several large cities were left without internet or phone connection after being shelled by Russian troops.

On Saturday, Mr Zelenskyy confirmed he had spoken to Mr Musk and confirmed even more satellites would be sent to Ukraine.

“I’m grateful to him for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds,” the president said. “Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities.”

He said they also discussed possible space projects. “But I’ll talk about this after the war,” he added.

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, showed off Starlink systems that had arrived on Saturday, saying they would help support critical infrastructure in the capital city, as well as the defence against Russian troops.

Starlink internet does not use an extensive fibre-optic cable system but instead satellites in low-orbit in space. People use a kit from SpaceX to access the signals beamed back to earth.

Mr Musk said he would activate satellites over Ukraine and send terminals after the vice prime minister appealed to the tech billionaire to help to keep the internet going during the attack from Russia.

He also warned Ukraine these systems could become an easy target for opposition forces since deploying them to the country.

Russia has bombarded the cities with missiles and engaged in heavy fighting across Ukraine since it launched its all-out invasion of the neighbouring country 11 days ago. Hundreds of civilians are believed to have been killed, while more than 1.5 million are estimated to have fled.

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