As the ground war in Ukraine becomes increasingly harder for their ammo-starved forces, another worrying development for them may be taking place up in space.
Of all the military capabilities in this conflict, the NATO ISR is one of Kiev’s greatest advantages. ISR is the ‘coordinated and integrated acquisition, processing and provision of timely, accurate, relevant, coherent and assured information and intelligence.’
This is basically an ‘eye in the sky’ awareness of enemy movements that is vital in today’s warfare – so any Russian step towards equaling capabilities could prove disastrous for Ukraine.
Now, reports have surfaced that suggest Russian forces in the conquered areas are using Starlink terminals produced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX for satellite internet.
Ukrainian military intelligence agency further alleges that it is beginning to look like a ‘systemic’ application.
Starlink terminals were sent in to help Ukraine after the war started and have been vital to Kiev’s battlefield communications.
Starlink, for its part, says it does not do business of any kind with Russia’s government or military.
“‘Cases of the Russian occupiers’ use of the given devices have been registered. It is beginning to take on a systemic nature’, the Ukrainian defense ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) quoted spokesman Andriy Yusov as saying.
In a statement, the agency said the terminals were being used by units like Russia’s 83rd Air Assault Brigade, which is fighting near the embattled towns of Klishchiivka and Andriivka in the partially-occupied eastern region of Donetsk.’
“‘The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine confirms the use of Starlink satellite communication systems by the Russian occupiers at the front’, [Ukrainian military intelligence] wrote on Telegram.
The intelligence service also posted a short conversation between what it says are Russian soldiers who mention the use of Starlink. ‘Radio interception of the invaders’ conversation shows that in order to establish access to the internet, Starlink terminals were installed’, according to the post.”
Starlink uses thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbits to provide internet services. It has been justly praised as an important tool in Ukraine’s ability to fight.
But relations between Starlink owner Elon Musk and Ukrainian authorities have significantly worsened since he ordered his engineers to disable satellite communications near the coast of Crimea, allegedly to prevent their participation in a planned Ukrainian drone strike.
Biographer: Elon Musk Turned Off Starlink Network To Prevent a Ukrainian Attack on Crimea, Out of Fear of a Nuclear Retaliation by the Russians – Musk Clarifies the Report
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