Ukraine VP Mykhailo Fedorov Thanks Elon Musk As 2nd Starlink Shipment Arrives

Ukraine's vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov has sent thanks to Elon Musk on Twitter as shipments of satellite internet equipment continue to arrive to the war-torn country.

"Received the second shipment of Starlink stations," Fedorov wrote on Wednesday afternoon, sharing a photo of what appeared to be a semi trailer full of boxes marked with the SpaceX logo.

"You're welcome," Musk replied, adding that SpaceX had also sent power adapters so that the equipment could be powered by car cigarette lighters or battery packs in locations where electricity is not available.

On February 26, two days after Russia launched its internationally-condemned invasion of Ukraine, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that SpaceX's Starlink service was up and running in Ukraine following a request for Starlink stations by Fedorov on Twitter that same day.

Fedorov shared a photo of a batch of Starlink equipment just two days later.

Starlink is SpaceX's satellite internet network which makes use of thousands of satellites in Earth orbit to provide paying customers with a connection.

Until recently, Ukraine's internet service has generally been reported as up and running despite Russia's attack, though NBC said Wednesday that outages are becoming more common as Russian forces cut off connections.

"Russia is probably targeting Ukraine's communications infrastructure in order to reduce Ukrainian citizens' access to reliable news and information," the U.K.'s ministry of defense said in an intelligence update on March 7.

Starlink's availability in Ukraine may provide a useful additional link to the outside world, but it's not without its problems. For one thing, Ukrainians who wish to use the service will have to come into possession of a Starlink satellite dish like the ones SpaceX is sending, but it's unclear whether the amount sent will meet demand. Ukraine is a country with a population of nearly 45 million people.

In addition, while thousands of satellites are harder to take down than ground-based internet infrastructure, Starlink is not invulnerable.

In a tweet on March 3, Musk said that the probability of Starlink being targeted by Russian cyberattacks was "high" and that people should "use with caution". He also said the service is "the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine."

Musk later said that SpaceX had "reprioritized to cyber defense" and noted that some Starlink equipment near conflict zones was "being jammed for several hours at a time." He said software updates could remedy the problem.

According to Space News, On March 7 SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said that the company had already been working to implement Starlink in Ukriane weeks before Russia's invasion of the country and had been in talks with officials there.

Elon Musk and Starlink satellite
Elon Musk (L) seen at a Tesla facility construction site in Germany in September, 2020, and a Starlink satellite dish. A Ukraine official had asked Musk to deliver Starlink in the country amid invasion by Russian forces. Getty/Maja Hitij/JL Images