Ukraine proposes a way for Musk to disconnect Russians from Starlink

Ukrainian Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said his ministry had proposed an algorithm to SpaceX designed to prevent Russian troops from using Starlink satellite communication systems without compromising the capabilities of Ukraine's Defense Forces.

"We looked at and analyzed the case that just happened in Israel when the conflict in Gaza escalated. We found the corresponding algorithm, proposed it to SpaceX, and we are now in clear communication about how to prevent such occurrences," Fedorov remarked during an interview with Suspilne, noting that he had talked with SpaceX owner Elon Musk about the issue before it became public.

Fedorov stated that disabling Starlink communication in occupied Ukrainian territories is not an option, as it would limit the use of Ukrainian drones. Therefore, the solution proposed would not impact the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ interests.

"We found this algorithm and proposed it. That is, SpaceX had already done something similar with the Israeli government, so we made a similar proposal… There is another way to ensure our Starlinks work, while those systems that appear in the occupied areas do not. We are working with SpaceX on this," the minister explained.

The Main Intelligence Directorate confirmed incidents of Russians using Starlink systems, noting that these instances are becoming systematic. The Russians import terminals through third countries, as SpaceX does not sell them directly to Russia.

In Russia, private sellers trade Starlink terminals operating only near the Ukrainian border, and personal user accounts to the network are connected through Poland. The advertisements specify that the subscription fee starts at $100 per month and the terminal will have a home account already set up. Subsequently, the Main Intelligence Directorate released a radio intercept of the occupiers discussing the possibility of purchasing Starlink terminals via an Arab country.

  War in Ukraine, Musk, Starlink