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Musk denies selling Starlink terminals to Russia after Kyiv alleges use


A Falcon 9 rocket launches a Starlink mission from Florida on Feb. 27, 2023.

SpaceX

Ukraine’s main military intelligence agency accused Russian forces of using Starlink terminals produced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in occupied areas.

Starlink has been adamant that its satellite networks have never operated or been marketed in Russia, after its terminals were delivered to Ukraine following the February 2022 invasion, in order to facilitate battlefield communications for Ukrainian forces.

“A number of false news reports claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia. This is categorically false,” Musk posted Sunday on the X social media platform, which he also owns.

“To the best of our knowledge, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.”

Kyiv’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) claimed Sunday that there was mounting evidence of the equipment being used by Russian forces in the partially-occupied eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

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“Yes, there have been recorded cases of use of these devices by the Russian occupiers. This is starting to take on a systemic nature,” GUR spokesman Andriy Yusov told RBC-Ukraine.

In a statement on its website, the GUR said radio interceptions of conversations between Russian forces showed that Starlink terminals had been installed in units of Russia’s 83rd Assault Brigade operating in Donetsk near the towns of Klischiivka and Andriivka.

The Russian defense ministry did not immediately reply when approached by CNBC for comment.

In a post on X on Feb. 8, Starlink said that “SpaceX does not do business of any kind with the Russian Government or its military.”

“Starlink is not active in Russia, meaning service will not work in that country. SpaceX has never sold or marketed Starlink in Russia, nor has it shipped equipment to locations in Russia. If Russian stores are claiming to sell Starlink for service in that country, they are scamming their customers.”



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