Elon Musk opens Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine after minister's plea

His company SpaceX is sending more terminals to the country

Starlink operates a constellation of more than 2,000 satellites that aim to provide internet access across the planet. AFP

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Billionaire Elon Musk said on Saturday his company SpaceX has activated the Starlink satellite broadband service in Ukraine, after a plea from Kiev to provide the embattled country with stations.

SpaceX is sending more terminals to the country, whose internet has been disrupted because of continuing military attacks by Russia.

"Starlink service is now active in Ukraine," Mr Musk tweeted, adding "more terminals en route."

The tweet came about 10 hours after Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov urged Musk to provide Starlink services to Ukraine, days after it was attacked by neighbouring Russia.

"While you try to colonise 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," Mr Fedorov tweeted at Musk.

He also called on the billionaire "to address sane Russians to stand" against their government's actions.

Elon Musk. AP

Internet monitor NetBlocks said Ukraine had been experiencing "significant disruptions to internet service" since Thursday, when Russia launched military operations in the country, AFP reported.

Connectivity has been affected, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country where fighting has been heaviest, Reuters reported.

Starlink operates a constellation of more than 2,000 satellites that aim to provide internet access across the planet.

The company on Friday launched a further 50 Starlink satellites and many more are slated to be put into Earth's orbit.

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Updated: February 27, 2022, 5:45 AM