Starlink is helping Ukraine stay online and Russia isn’t too happy about this. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has shared an important warning on Twitter pointing out that Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system that is still working in some parts of Ukraine. The probability of being targeted, he added, is high. Elon advised users to use it with caution.
Could Starlink also be under the threat of a cyberattack from Russia, like how Viasat was a few weeks ago?
— Toby Li (@tobyliiiiiiiiii) March 3, 2022
When asked by Toby Li if Starlink could be under threat of a cyberattack from Russia as Viasat was recently, Elon pointed out that almost all Viasat Ukraine user terminals were rendered permanently unusable by a Russian cyberattack on the day of the invasion. When John of Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley asked if there was anything to stop cyberattacks on Starlink, Elon replied, “Game on.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 4, 2022
On March 2, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted that Starlink is keeping Ukraine’s cities connected and helping emergency services save lives. He also asked for ways to help keep Starlink and life-saving services online. The continued conversation with Elon advising that solar panels and a battery pack are better than generators, and they do not give off heat signatures or smoke. They also don’t run out of fuel. I briefly touched upon this conversation in another article. Fedorov has also asked Elon for help rebuilding Ukraine with full solar + storage.
Elon followed up on this discussion a day later with some updates. Starlink’s software was updated to reduce peak power consumption so that it can be powered from a car cigarette lighter — similar to how one can charge their phone. He added that mobile roaming was enabled so that a phased array antenna would be able to maintain signal while on a moving vehicle.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) March 2, 2022
Russia Isn’t Happy At All With Starlink
Russia isn’t too keen on Starlink helping Ukraine keep its emergency services connected. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, had several words on the matter. Katya Pavlushchenko, a space exploration enthusiast, shared a video of Rogozin and translated a part of it.
“When Russia implements its highest national interests on the territory of Ukraine, Elon Musk appears with his Starlink, which was previously declared as purely civilian. Here is this mud (мурло) opened himself I warned about it, but our ‘muskophiles’ said — he is the light of the world cosmonautics. Here, look, he has chosen the side. I don’t even blame him personally. This is the West that we should never trust.”
Elon responded that Ukraine civilian Internet was experiencing “strange outages” and joked that it could have been “bad weather.” And that SpaceX is helping Ukraine fix it.
Ukraine civilian Internet was experiencing strange outages – bad weather perhaps? – so SpaceX is helping fix it
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2022
2,000 Civilian Deaths & Growing
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, there have been over 2,000 Ukrainian civilians killed, Reuters reports. Many, especially Ukrainians, have called this genocide. “Children, women, and defense forces are losing their lives every hour,” the Ukrainian emergency services said in a statement.
Reuters reported six hours ago that Russian forces have seized Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. While seizing that plant, Russia shelled the plant and caused it to catch on fire. The fire, thankfully, was extinguished. The US Embassy in Kyiv stated that it was a war crime to attack a nuclear power plant.
— US Embassy Kyiv (@USEmbassyKyiv) March 4, 2022
This Has Nothing To Do With Clean Energy … But
I do read comments, and one of the more common ones is that this has nothing to do with EVs, clean energy, or cleantech. You’re right (to some extent). However, what’s happening in Ukraine is impossible not to talk about. And so is Elon’s response and the world’s response to Elon helping.
We can’t ignore what’s going on in the world, and this is a particularly big matter.
I don’t like what’s happening in Ukraine. Russia is in the wrong. I also don’t like that Elon Musk, who leads both Tesla and SpaceX, is often criticized wrongly for helping people and then accused of being a rich billionaire who doesn’t care about people. Yes, he has flaws. I’ve said this before. Everyone does. However, this doesn’t make spreading lies and misinformation about him or anyone right. This is simply another example of Elon doing something purely to help other humans, even in the face of what must be severe risk from Putin and his mercenaries.
It’s okay to go off-topic sometimes. This is one of those times.
Starlink Internet dishes are now in the hands of the bad ass Klitschko brothers in Kyiv. We stand with you Ukraine against Putin’s tyranny. Thank you bro @elonmusk and @spacexx for making it happen 🚀 pic.twitter.com/A8xzN9w7FA
— 𝙺 𝙺 2014 (@kimbal) March 5, 2022
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