Russia fears that Ukraine will “disconnect” Musk’s “Star Chain” urgently

Russia fears that Ukraine will “disconnect” Musk’s “Star Chain” urgently. Under the threat of Russian artillery fire and cyber attacks, Ukraine faces the danger of being “disconnected” at any time. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly sent satellite Internet service Starlink equipment to Ukraine, including U.S. military generals, experts and Ukrainian users who have said that Starlink, which is not constrained by ground base stations, may be able to operate on the Internet. The most critical moment is to solve the Internet needs of the Ukrainian people.

Russia fears that Ukraine will “disconnect” Musk’s “Star Chain” urgently

Ukrainian engineer: Starlink is faster than traditional home Internet

Oleg Kutkov, a software and communication technology engineer who is still in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is the first to use Starlink services in Ukraine. On March 7, in a video interview with VOA from his home in Kyiv, he said that the Starlink equipment is very easy to use and the Internet speed is fast.

When showing the Starlink device through a video, Kutkov said: “It’s actually very easy to use… There are two parts… This is an outdoor component, you just put it somewhere outdoors, facing the sky. Indoors, you have this thing, like a router.”

He said: “You just put the device outside, turn on the power, wait a few minutes, and you can go online without any additional debugging.”

The video of the speed test of the Starlink network previously shared by Kutkov on social media shows that the local Starlink Internet downlink rate exceeds 200Mb per second. The video garnered more than 2.6 million views. Kutkov said his Starlink device was purchased from eBay a few months ago. He said that he shared the experience on Twitter to confirm that Starlink is available in Ukraine.

“The quality of the connection is even better than the internet in my own home, twice as fast as the internet at home,” Kutkov said.

Gen. James Dickinson, the commander of U.S. Space Command, said at a Senate hearing on March 8 that SpaceX’s ability to provide Internet service to war-torn Ukraine has “impressed” Space Command. impressed).

General Dickinson said, “We saw that Musk and Starlink really showed us the ‘redundancy’ that a very large constellation of satellites or a diffused space architecture can provide. Redundancy and capability.”

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister asks Musk for help “as needed”

After Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, publicly appealed to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is also the CEO of commercial space technology company SpaceX, through social media, Musk immediately It is confirmed that Starlink can be used in Ukraine, and it is stated that more Starlink equipment will be sent to reinforce Ukraine.

Fedorov tweeted to Musk on February 26: “We ask you to provide Ukraine with a Starlink base station and call on sensible Russians to come forward.”

Musk responded the day after Fedorov’s tweet, saying: “Starlink services are now active in Ukraine. More end devices are arriving.”

Two days later, Fedorov tweeted photos of a batch of Starlink terminals arriving in Ukraine and thanked Musk.

On March 9, Fedorov once again posted a picture showing the second batch of Starlink equipment arriving in Ukraine and praised Musk for keeping his promise.

Ukrainian internet connectivity at stake, Starlink critical

Russia’s raids on Ukraine by sea, land and air and the seizure of some of the country’s cities have affected internet connections there. The outside world expects that the release of Starlink equipment can partially solve the problem of network outages for many institutions and people in Ukraine.

The British Ministry of Defense said on March 7 that Russia may target Ukraine’s communications infrastructure to reduce Ukrainians’ access to reliable sources. “Ukrainian internet access is also highly likely to be disrupted by Russia’s strike on infrastructure,” the MoD tweeted.

NetBlocks, a London-based network monitoring group, said on March 9 that there was a large-scale outage in the Internet connection in the Russian-controlled Kherson state in southern Ukraine, after large-scale protests against the Russian occupiers in the region. More than 400 people were arrested.

In Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, regular internet connections have been nearly down since early March. NetBlocks monitoring shows that the city’s Internet connection rate is currently less than one-tenth of its usual rate.

NetBlocks previously said connectivity at GigaTrans, Ukraine’s main internet service provider, dropped below 20 percent of its usual level at one point after Russia’s February 24 attack on Ukraine.

Many people are pinning their hopes on maintaining Ukraine’s network connectivity at a critical time on Musk’s Starlink network. This network project provides a high-speed network service for the world with tens of thousands of small satellites in low-Earth orbit and gets rid of the shackles of ground base stations.

Kutkov, an engineer in Kiev, said: “Since I posted the test results online, I have received a lot of information from people all over the country, many different companies, citizens and even military personnel asking where I got it from. Equipment terminals, how do I get one, how much does it cost, etc. I can see that people really need this.”

How the Ukrainian side distributes Starlink equipment is also of concern. Kutkov said that due to security reasons, too much specific information cannot be shared, “but I know that they (the Ukrainian government) are distributing these equipment terminals in the government, military units, infrastructure, power plants, etc.”

He said: “Ukraine is a highly digital country, everything we do is online. Our government uses social media channels, YouTube videos, etc. to communicate with citizens, we get information from them online, not through TV or radio, and It’s the network. So, (Star Chain) is very important.”

Western tech firms back Ukraine for sanctions against Russia

In addition to SpaceX’s Starlink Internet, many international technology companies have helped the Ukrainian people in different ways after the war.

Carriers such as T-Mobile and Verizon have waived the charges for international calls to Ukraine. Tesla allows an electric car to use charging points on the borders of Ukraine with Hungary and Poland.

Short-term home rental platform Airbnb wrote to leaders of European countries including Poland, Germany, Hungary, and Romania shortly after Russia and the invasion of Ukraine, expressing its willingness to assist in the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees.

In addition, many foreigners donated money to hosts in Ukraine in the form of “can’t book” on the Airbnb platform. According to CNET and other media reports, in just two days on March 2 and 3, Airbnb received virtual reservation requests from 61,000 users and indirectly donated 2 million US dollars to the Ukrainian people.

In order to protect Ukrainians from Russian troops as they flee their homes, Google and Apple have suspended traffic information on key escape routes in their map services.

While supporting the Ukrainian people, more Western technology companies are using various means to “punish” and “sanction” Russia.

On the social media front, Google and Facebook parent Meta banned Russian state media from selling ads on their platforms, while saying they were working with European governments to combat the spread of pro-Kremlin disinformation. Twitter said it would add a warning label to all tweets containing links to Russian state media.

According to a list of international entities sanctioned by Russia compiled by a research team at the Yale School of Management, the number of international companies and associations that have announced partial or complete withdrawal from the Russian market has exceeded 300.

Eli Dourado, an economist and senior fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity (CGO) at Utah State University, told VOA that the reason the West is collectively supporting Ukraine “is because Russia’s actions make the world’s Many regions were shocked, and frankly, even disgusted.”

“The circumstances of this conflict have left a lot of people feeling that it’s almost pure good versus evil,” he said.

Even the tensions between the U.S. and China have not inspired this kind of “enterprise,” said Abishur Prakash, a geopolitical futurist and co-founder of the Canadian Center for Innovating the Future. activism”.

” One of the reasons why Western companies, especially tech companies, are willing to take sides is the global landscape,” Prakash, author of ” The World Is Vertical ,” told VOA via email. That has changed permanently. The West is trying to permanently decouple from Russia, and Western tech companies are not just compliant. Tech directors have acquiesced that Russia is a ‘no-go zone’.”

Economist Durado pointed out that the main purpose of Western companies’ punishment of Russia is to put pressure on President Vladimir Putin. He said: “If there is some truth behind this boycott of the Russian economy, it is to create enough unrest among the Russian populace by depriving all the comforts of modern life, such as iPhones, internet services, etc… to get Putin to begin. Worried about his grip on power.”

Under Russian fire, Western companies’ aid to Ukraine may be limited

Analysts believe that under the harsh attack of Russian artillery and Putin’s willful actions, foreign technological assistance such as Starlink may only slightly increase the resistance to Ukraine. In addition, the particularity of Starlink technology may make users in Ukraine the target of Russian military raids.

Musk warned that Starlink is “the only non-Russian communications system in operation” in parts of Ukraine. “High potential to be targeted. Use with care,” he tweeted.

Kyiv engineer Kutkov said that the security risks of using Starlink do exist. “I would be extra careful and I would only use it in an emergency. Because Starlink’s terminal equipment is hot at work, it could be a target for a missile attack,” he said.

“I’m in an area I think is relatively Safe because there is no fighting near me. No rockets yet. I am safe, but others may be in danger, let’s use it when we really need it,” he said.

Sunbal Razzaq

Sunbal Razzaq is the founder & CEO of Sunshine Tips.

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