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SpaceX to limit Ukraine in the use of Starlink internet for drones

#StandWithUkraine
February 9,2023 1163
SpaceX to limit Ukraine in the use of Starlink internet for drones

SpaceX has taken steps to prevent Ukraine’s military from using the company’s Starlink satellite internet service for controlling drones during the country’s war with Russia, SpaceX’s president said Wednesday, according to Reuters.

SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service, which has provided Ukraine’s military with broadband communications in its defense against Russia’s military, was “never meant to be weaponized,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said during a conference in Washington, D.C.

“However, Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement,” she said.

Ukraine has made effective use of unmanned aircraft for spotting enemy positions, targeting long-range fires and dropping bombs.

“There are things that we can do to limit their ability to do that,” Shotwell said. “There are things that we can do, and have done.”

Shotwell declined to say what measures SpaceX had taken.

Using Starlink with drones went beyond the scope of an agreement SpaceX has with the Ukrainian government, Shotwell said, adding the contract was intended for humanitarian purposes such as providing broadband internet to hospitals, banks and families affected by Russia’s invasion.

“We know the military is using [Starlink] for comms, and that’s ok,” she said. “But our intent was never to have them use it for offensive purposes.”

SpaceX has privately shipped truckloads of Starlink terminals to Ukraine, allowing the country’s military to communicate. Governments including the United States and France have paid for other shipments of Starlink terminals on top of those funded privately by SpaceX.

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