March 1, 2024

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Musk denies selling Starlink terminals to Russia after Kiev allegedly used them

Musk denies selling Starlink terminals to Russia after Kiev allegedly used them

A Falcon 9 rocket launches the Starlink mission from Florida on February 27, 2023.

SpaceX

Ukraine's main military intelligence agency has accused Russian forces of using Starlink terminals produced by Elon Musk's SpaceX company in the occupied territories.

Starlink was adamant Its satellite networks were never operated or commercialized in Russia, after its terminals were handed over to Ukraine following the February 2022 invasion, in order to facilitate battlefield communications for Ukrainian forces.

“A number of fake news reports claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia. This is absolutely not true,” Musk posted Sunday on the social media platform X, which he also owns.

“To our knowledge, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.”

There is growing evidence of Russian forces using the equipment in Ukraine's partially occupied Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, the Main Intelligence Directorate in Kiev claimed on Sunday.

“Yes, cases of the use of these devices by Russian occupiers have been recorded. This is beginning to take on a systemic nature,” GUR spokesman Andrei Yusov told RBC-Ukraine.

In a statement on its websiteGUR said radio intercepts of conversations between Russian forces showed that Starlink stations had been installed in units of the Russian 83rd Assault Brigade operating in Donetsk near the cities of Klychevka and Andreevka.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond when contacted by CNBC for comment.

In a post on X on February 8, Starlink said that “SpaceX has no dealings of any kind with the Russian government or its military.”

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“Starlink is not active in Russia, which means the service will not work in that country. SpaceX has never sold or marketed Starlink in Russia, nor has it shipped equipment to locations in Russia. If Russian stores claim to sell Starlink for the service in that country They are deceiving their customers.”