Starlink Has ‘Destroyed’ Vladimir Putin’s Information Campaign, Says US Official

A US official and Ukrainian military members said that SpaceX’s satellite internet service, Starlink, has been a critical part of Ukraine’s defence against Russia, because of which President Vladimir Putin’s information campaign has been “destroyed”.

US Brigadier General Steven Butow said that SpaceX’s Starlink services have been vital to the Ukrainian military, from relaying coordinates for artillery strikes against Russia to broadcasting Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s remarks around the world.

He also worked closely with SpaceX, as the director of the defence innovation unit’s space portfolio.

According to the general, “The strategic impact is, it totally destroyed [Vladimir] Putin’s information campaign. He never, to this day, has been able to silence Zelenskyy.”

Ukrainian military put Starlink’s capabilities to test on a daily basis. According to Politico, the satellite dish is used to combat Russian propaganda, plan missions, keep soldiers in touch with their families, and provide a source of entertainment during downtime.

A few days ago, Zelenskyy praised Elon Musk’s Starlink for assisting Ukraine in combating Russian propaganda. During an interview with Wired, he said that the satellite network has been “very effective”.

He said: “It helped us a lot, in many moments related to the blockade of our cities, towns, and related to the occupied territories.”

“Sometimes we completely lost communication with those places. To lose contact with those people is to lose control completely, to lose reality. Believe me: people who got out of the occupied cities, where there was no such assistance as Starlink, said that the Russians told them that Ukraine doesn’t exist anymore, and some people even began to believe it. I am really grateful for the support of Starlink,” Zelenskyy added.

Musk sent Starlink dishes to Ukraine two days after Russia launched an attack on Ukraine. The shipment took place after Mykhailo Fedorov, who is the vice prime minister of Ukraine, requested the billionaire for Starlink terminals.

The company reported last week that it has delivered 15,000 Starlink kits to Ukraine in the previous three months.

In April, it was reported that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) paid SpaceX $2 million for 1,333 terminals to be delivered to Ukraine. Additionally, it was also said that SpaceX delivered 3,667 terminals to Ukraine in exchange for approximately $10 million in material and USAID may have partially subsidised this donation.

However, in May, Musk revealed that Starlink satellite broadband service had resisted Russian cyberwar jamming and hacking attempts while sharing a warning stating that “They’re (Russia) ramping up their efforts”.

At that time he shared a report by Reuters according to which the United States, Britain, Canada, Estonia and the European Union said that Russia was behind a massive cyberattack against a satellite internet network, which knocked tens of thousands of modems offline during the war.

It was also said that the digital assault on Viasat’s KA-SAT network occurred in late February, just as Russian armour advanced into Ukraine.

Meanwhile, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the cyberattack was intended “to disrupt Ukrainian command and control during the invasion, and those actions had spillover impacts into other European countries”.

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