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Russians using Starlink: US Democrats launch investigation into Elon Musk's company

Thursday, 7 March 2024, 14:58
Russians using Starlink: US Democrats launch investigation into Elon Musk's company
Starlink. Photo: Getty Images

Democrats in the United States House of Representatives have launched an investigation into SpaceX CEO Elon Musk following reports that Starlink is being used by Russian troops.

Source: The Washington Post citing a letter from Democrats

Quote: "Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) sent a letter Wednesday night demanding that the company report complaints about potential illegal acquisitions of Starlink terminals, including in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.


The lawmakers said they were alarmed by Ukrainian intelligence officials’ allegations that Russian forces deployed the company’s terminals in eastern Ukraine, potentially running afoul of U.S. sanctions.

The lawmakers warned SpaceX’s president, Gwynne Shotwell, that Russia’s alleged use of Starlink ‘poses a serious threat to Ukraine’s security, Ukrainian lives, and U.S. national security’."

Details: In a letter received by the publication, lawmakers inquired about SpaceX's efforts to eliminate security vulnerabilities that Russia could exploit to illegally acquire Starlink terminals, as well as how the company works with other US regulators to prevent illegal trade in satellite terminals.


According to the Washington Post, lawmakers are only beginning their investigation, but they intend to contact the Pentagon and other relevant departments.

"It remains critical that Russia be deprived of any trade that empowers its military," the lawmakers wrote.


  • On 11 February, Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) confirmed that Russian occupying forces were using Starlink satellite communications systems on the battlefield. DIU stressed that the scale of Russians' use of Starlink terminals in the war was growing and "is becoming systemic".
  • The Ukrainian military began to publish footage of the destruction of Russian Starlink terminals on social media.
  • Musk stated that reports claiming the company sells Starlink terminals to Russia are "categorically false". Musk also tweeted that Starlink satellites "will not close communications in Russia," in response to a question from user on Twitter (X) about whether the company would know if the terminals were active in Russia.

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