Elon Musk Says Starlink Won't Block Russian News 'Unless at Gunpoint'

Elon Musk said Saturday that some governments have asked SpaceX's Starlink satellite broadband service to block Russian news sources.

"Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources," he tweeted.

"We will not do so unless at gunpoint," Musk added. "Sorry to be a free speech absolutist."

A number of tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft have moved to ban Russian state-run media outlets such as RT and Sputnik in response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, Microsoft said RT's mobile apps would be removed from the Windows App Store, and the the company would not display any state-sponsored RT and Sputnik content. Google has blocked downloads of RT's mobile app in Ukraine, while Apple has said it had banned the state-sponsored outlets from its app store in every country except Russia.

The SpaceX and Tesla CEO earlier this week warned there was a high probability that the Starlink satellite broadband service could be "targeted" in Ukraine, amid the invasion launched by Russia on February 24.

"Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine," he said in a Twitter post on Friday. "Please use with caution."

He added in a separate tweet: "SpaceX reprioritized to cyber defense & overcoming signal jamming. Will cause slight delays in Starship & Starlink V2."

Musk said some Starlink terminals near conflict areas in Ukraine were being jammed for "several hours at a time."

"Our latest software update bypasses the jamming. Am curious to see what's next!" he tweeted on Saturday.

Musk's remarks came after he delivered SpaceX Starlink internet terminals to Ukraine on Monday.

Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted an image of the Starlink terminals arriving in Ukraine, thanking Musk.

The terminals are being used to access Starlink satellites in orbit around Earth and provide internet to Ukraine, as it fends off attacks from neighboring Russia.

Ukraine began experiencing major internet disruptions in major cities after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion against the country, declaring a "special military operation."

"Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route," Musk tweeted on February 26, responding to a request from Fedorov for Starlink terminals.

SpaceX describes Starlink on its website as a constellation of satellites that provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe, enabling video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet.

The company has said Starlink is ideally suited for areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable.

"People across the globe are using Starlink to gain access to education, health services and even communications support during natural disasters," its website states.

Newsweek has contacted SpaceX for comment.

Elon Musk visits Tesla site
Tesla CEO Elon Musk talks during a tour of the plant of the future foundry of the Tesla Gigafactory on August 13, 2021 in Grünheide near Berlin, Germany. Musk said Saturday that some governments have asked SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service to block Russian news sources. Patrick Pleul - Pool//Getty Images