- A Ukrainian government official tweeted at SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Saturday, asking for Starlink terminals.
- Musk personally responded just hours later, saying Starlink internet is now active in Ukraine.
- The Russian invasion has disrupted internet service for some Ukrainians.
Elon Musk announced Saturday that his company SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service had been activated in Ukraine, following a request from a Kyiv official for the tech titan to provide stations to his troubled country.
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine,” Musk tweeted, adding “more terminals en route.”
Musk’s announcement came in direct response to a request from a Ukrainian government official for more Starlink stations in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion, which disrupted Ukraine’s internet services.
The tweet came about 10 hours after Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov urged Musk to provide Starlink services to Ukraine, which had been invaded by neighboring Russia just days before.
“While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations,” Fedorov tweeted at Musk.
He also called on the billionaire “to address sane Russians to stand” against their government’s invasion. Though, Musk wasn’t immediately clear how widely accessible the Starlink service would be in Ukraine.
In response to Musk’s announcement, the official Twitter account for Ukraine tweeted, “Thanx, appreciate it.”
The Russian invasion has disrupted internet connectivity throughout Ukraine, though the extent was not immediately clear on Saturday. Connectivity to the country’s main internet provider dropped by 20% for a brief period on Friday, according to internet monitors, though it was unclear how much of that was due to Ukrainians fleeing their homes.
“We currently observe national connectivity at 87% of ordinary levels, a figure that reflects service disruptions as well as population flight and the shuttering of homes and businesses since the morning of the 24th,” Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks, told the news outlet.
SpaceX’s Starlink is a growing network of private satellites in low orbit that aims to provide high-speed internet access all over the world. There are currently over 1500 Starlink satellites in operation.
Starlink operates a constellation of over 2,000 satellites with the goal of providing internet access around the world.
Saturday was not the first time SpaceX offered to send Starlink terminals to needy countries. Musk previously offered to send the terminals to Tonga, where a volcanic eruption had disrupted internet access throughout the country.
On Friday, the company launched 50 more Starlink satellites into Earth’s orbit, with many more on the way.