Ukraine accuses Russian forces of using Elon Musk’s Starlink terminals in occupied territories

The leadership change comes amid intensified street-to-street combat between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

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New Delhi: Recent reports from Ukraine allege that Russian troops occupying Ukrainian territories are utilizing terminals from Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service. Ukrainian intelligence claims to have intercepted communications among Russian soldiers, providing evidence of the ‘systemic’ deployment of these Starlink terminals. While specific details regarding the extent of their usage and acquisition methods remain undisclosed, Ukrainian spokesman Andriy Yusov emphasized the increasing integration of these systems into Russia's military operations.

Evidence and interceptions

The Ministry’s main directorate of intelligence shared an audio clip on Telegram purportedly featuring discussions among troops from Russia’s 83rd Air Assault Brigade concerning the installation of Starlink terminals in eastern Ukraine. These intercepted communications shed light on the strategic significance of Starlink systems in Russia's ongoing invasion, which has persisted for nearly two years.

Integration into battlefield communications

Starlink systems have emerged as vital components of Ukraine's battlefield communications infrastructure during Russia’s prolonged invasion. Despite the lack of detailed information regarding their deployment, Yusov highlighted that the utilization of Starlink terminals is evolving into a systemic practice within Russian-controlled territories. However, Russia’s defense ministry has remained silent on these allegations, refraining from commenting on the matter.

SpaceX denies involvement with Russian military

SpaceX, the company responsible for Starlink, reiterated in a statement released last week that it has no business dealings with the Russian government or military. They clarified that their satellite internet service is not operational in Russia, distancing themselves from any potential collaboration with Russian forces in the conflict.

Zelenskyy ousts top army general amid ongoing conflict

In a significant shift in Ukraine’s war strategy, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently replaced top army general Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Zaluzhnyi, who led the army for two years, faced criticism following a failed counteroffensive against Russian forces. His replacement, Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, known for his adherence to NATO standards, signifies Ukraine’s commitment to adapting its military leadership amidst ongoing conflict.

Intensification of street-to-street combat

The leadership change comes amid intensified street-to-street combat between Ukrainian and Russian forces. Ukrainian troops claimed to have downed a Russian attack helicopter near Avdiivka, a strategic location in Russia’s campaign. As Russian troops aim to sever key supply routes, Ukraine braces for increased hostilities. Despite Ukraine’s staunch defense efforts, Russian advances in the Donetsk region pose significant challenges, reminiscent of previous brutal battles.

Ongoing conflict dynamics

The ongoing conflict dynamics highlight the complexity and brutality of the situation, with Moscow seeking to gain control over the entire Donetsk region. The recent developments underscore Ukraine’s resilience and determination to defend its sovereignty against Russian aggression.