As his country entered its 100th day since Russia invaded in February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s satellite internet coverage, saying it has been “very effective” in war-torn and otherwise disconnected areas of Ukraine where cell towers have been destroyed.
“It helped us a lot, in many moments related to the blockade of our cities, towns, and related to the occupied territories,” Zelensky told Wired.
Zelensky noted that at times his leadership “completely lost communication” with certain areas.
“To lose contact with those people is to lose control completely, to lose reality,” Zelensky added. “Believe me: People who got out of the occupied cities, where there was no such assistance as Starlink, said that the Russians told them that Ukraine doesn’t exist anymore, and some people even began to believe it.”
Musk sent Starlink internet service to Ukraine after Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov tweeted at Musk on Feb. 26, asking for assistance with restoring the country’s internet.
“I am really grateful for the support of Starlink,” Zelensky said.
Ukrainian forces have used the Starlink system to aide its drone warfare, allowing Ukrainian troops to locate Russian targets, even in very rural areas.
The Starlink system has also been a target of Russian cyberwar, with Musk saying that his space technology company has “resisted” such efforts.
“Starlink has resisted Russian cyberwar jamming & hacking attempts so far, but they’re ramping up their efforts,” Musk tweeted in May.