SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has denied supplying satellite internet terminals to Moscow following allegations from Kiev
The Russian military never officially ordered SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet terminals and they are not certified for use in Russia, the Kremlin has said. Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov made the comment shortly after Ukrainian intelligence claimed that Russian forces were using the technology amid the ongoing armed conflict between Moscow and Kiev.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk donated some 20,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine shortly after Russia launched its offensive against the country in February 2022. Ukrainian troops are using them to operate drones along the front line. However, the billionaire said last year that he had refused Ukraine’s request to activate the Starlink service in Crimea.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Peskov noted that Starlink had never been certified in Russia, meaning that it “cannot be and is not being delivered here officially.” He added that, for this reason, the technology cannot be used in any official capacity in Russia.
The Kremlin’s representative concluded by saying that there was no point in Moscow getting involved in a “discussion between the Kiev regime and entrepreneur Musk.”
In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday, Musk lamented that “a number of false news reports claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia.”
“To the best of our knowledge, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia,” the SpaceX CEO added.
In a separate statement on Thursday, SpaceX insisted that it “does not do business of any kind with the Russian government or its military,” and has “never sold or marketed Starlink in Russia, nor has it shipped equipment to locations in Russia.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) claimed to have intercepted a conversation between Russian military personnel, where one service member could be heard saying in Russian “Starlink is working, we have internet [access].”
GUR spokesman Andrey Yusov alleged that Russian troops are “systematically” using Starlink terminals.
In September, Musk said his company had refused to enable Starlink coverage over Crimea. “Now, the reason it was turned off was actually because… the United States has sanctions against Russia… and that includes Crimea,” he explained at the time. In the absence of any direct orders from the US leadership, SpaceX opted not to run afoul of the regulations despite Kiev’s request to do so, the entrepreneur noted.
Earlier, CNN reported that Musk’s decision had thwarted a Ukrainian drone attack against the Russian Black Sea Fleet.