An Unlikely Ally: Elon Musk Helps in Ukraine

Justin Kampf, Contributor

On February 26th Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov reached out on Twitter to the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk asking for aid with the internet in Ukraine.  Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian hackers targeted and took down the internet all across Ukraine.  This took out the biggest method for communication in Ukraine and made it very difficult for the Ukrainian government to give information to its citizens.  In his Tweet, Vice Prime Minister Fedorov said, “We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”  Musk quickly responded, “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.”  This shows that he is in support of Ukraine during this war.  

To understand how important this is you should first know what Starlink is.  Starlink is the network set up by SpaceX of over 2,000 satellites that can provide internet anywhere in the world that has a corresponding receiver.  Starlink receivers only need a stable power source.  They do not require any underground cables or physical connection to a server.  This means that they are far more protected from physical attacks. They are also virtually impossible to take down with a cyberattack, which is the reason that Ukraine did not have internet in the first place.  Musk activated coverage in Ukraine and sent them corresponding receivers at no cost. 

Now, why is this significant?  Why is this so different from a country getting involved in the war?  This is the first time that a billionaire has had enough power and influence to change the course of a war.  Elon Musk is able to give Ukraine something that even the US government is not able to provide.  He single handedly gave Ukraine hope and might just have given them the boost they need to be victorious.  As of March 15th, Starlink services are active in Ukraine and the country has stable internet.