Well-known technology entrepreneur Elon Musk got a request from Kyiv to give Ukraine satellite links so that internet services could continue. This request was made to try and stop a military assault by Russia to disrupt communications among other things.
Elon Musk heeded this call and activated Starlink, a satellite-based internet service. This service is operated by Spacex, an aerospace manufacturing company. Spacex also provides transport services to space and is Musk’s brainchild. Musk later made an announcement on social media that his company is sending the needed equipment to keep internet services up and running in Ukraine.
On February 26th, 2022, Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov posted a Tweet in which he addressed Musk directly. While Starlink uses low orbit satellites to provide broadband internet services around the world, accessing the network can be done only if a special antenna and a specific modem are installed.
Ukraine has been under attack by Russia since February 24th. Russian forces have been advancing steadily and have surrounded most large cities in Ukraine. Every Ukrainian feared that the country would lose its communication links to the outside world.
According to Netblocks, an internet monitoring service, there have been significant disruptions in service since the Russian invasion. Starlink has 2000+ satellites in operation and it was not clear if Ukraine could use them to maintain a link to the rest of the world. Mykhailo Fedorov thanked Musk for sending Starlink terminals to help Ukraine.