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    Ukraine uses thousands of the Starlink internet terminals bought by Poland

    Poland’s commissioner for cybersecurity, Janusz Cieszynski, told Bloomberg that Poland had purchased 11,700 Starlink terminals for Ukraine, of which 5,000 were purchased by state-owned refiner PKN Orlen.

    There are more than 20,000 terminals now operating in Ukraine. The terminals, made by a company owned by Elon Musk, enable Ukrainian soldiers to operate drones, receive important intelligence, and communicate with each other where there are no other secure internet sources.

     

    The compact systems, which consist of a small antenna and a 35-centimetre terminal, also provide internet coverage for Ukrainian NGOs and civilians as well as support infrastructure nationwide.

     

    Each device, which can be battery operated, connects to one of Musk’s SpaceX satellites enabling WiFi use, essential where Russia has targeted Ukrainian communications infrastructure.

     

    Musk is the biggest private shareholder in SpaceX and responded positively to a request by Ukraine’s minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, for access to Starlink services at the start of the war.

     

    However, about 85 per cent of the 20,000 terminals in use in Ukraine have been entirely or partly financed by external sources, including by the US, British and Polish governments, as SpaceX has confirmed in correspondence with the Pentagon. The same countries have also paid for around 30 per cent of internet connections, which according to SpaceX cost USD 4,500 a month per unit for the most advanced service.

     

    Ukraine’s Ukrinform news agency reported on October 5 that among the donors are USAID, Poland, the EU and private companies.

     

    “SpaceX promised to cover the costs of servicing terminals bought by Orlen,” while the Polish government “covers the full cost of the services,” which comes to about USD 50 per month per device, Cieszynski said.

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