A Falcon 9 rocket launches a Starlink mission from Florida on February 27, 2023.
Ukraine’s main military intelligence agency accused Russian forces of using Starlink terminals from Elon Musk’s SpaceX in occupied territories.
Starlink insists its satellite networks were never operated or marketed in Russia after its terminals were delivered to Ukraine following the February 2022 invasion to help Ukrainian forces communicate on the battlefield.
“A series of false news reports claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia. This is categorically false,” Musk posted on Sunday on the social media platform X, which he also owns.
“To the best of our knowledge, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.”
Kiev’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) claimed on Sunday that there was growing evidence that the equipment was being used by Russian forces in the partially occupied eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk.
“Yes, cases of the use of these devices by the Russian occupiers have been recorded. This is beginning to take on a systemic character,” GUR spokesman Andriy Yusov told RBC-Ukraine.
In a statement on its website, the GUR said radio intercepts of conversations between Russian forces showed that Starlink terminals had been installed in units of Russia’s 83rd Assault Brigade operating in Donetsk, near the towns of Klishiivka and Andriivka.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond when contacted by CNBC for comment.
In a post on X on February 8, Starlink said: “SpaceX does not do any business with the Russian government or its military.”
“Starlink is not active in Russia, which means the service will not work in this country. SpaceX has never sold or marketed Starlink in Russia, nor has it delivered any equipment to locations in Russia. When Russian stores claim to sell Starlink for service in this country, they are deceiving their customers.”