How are Elon Musk’s “Starlink” satellites connecting Ukrainians?
Elon Musk has directed “Starlink” satellites to be placed over Ukraine to help citizens regain access to the internet after connection was lost during the invasion.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Internet Society Pulse, an online group that tracks global internet usage has seen a fifteen percent decrease in usage across the country. Russian cyber attacks as well as those on physical infrastructure have severely limited the ability of Ukrainians to access the internet.
Starlink, which forms part of Space X, is a network of satellites that "provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe." As of early February, a little over 2000 Starlink satellites had been launched. Rather than the satellite connecting to a handheld device, Starlink connects users to the internet through terminals which are roughly the size of a pizza box.
On 26 February, Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, asked Elon Musk to provide Starlink terminals to Ukraine.
Through an exchange on Twitter, the shipment of servers was confirmed, with Musk saying "Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route."
Three shipments have arrived and Musk has announced that updates will be made to the software "to reduce peak power consumption, so Starlink can be powered from car cigarette lighter." The changes will also enable "mobile roaming" so that those who are in a moving vehicle can remain connected.
What else has Elon Musk said about the Russian invasion?
Elon Musk has been supportive of the Ukrainian people on social media since the invasion began. He has also shown support for Russian citizens who do not support the invasion, saying in a Tweet, "my sympathies to the great people of Russia, who do not want this."
While the European Union has taken the step to ban state-owned Russian news companies and Musk has faced pressure for the Starlink system to "block Russian news sources," he said he would not, even under "gunpoint." He did make sure to clarify that the asks have not come from the Ukrainian government.
Elon Musk calls for an increase in global oil production
Musk has also said that although an increase in global oil production will hurt Tesla, he believes that it is the only way to ensure price stabilization. This was before the United States had announced a ban on Russian oil imports, and the subsequent decision by the US and allies to release around sixty million barrels of oil from strategic reserves.
There are increasing reports that Russian oil production has slowed significant since the invasion. But, it is believed that Russia has about sixty years worth of crude oil in reserves. If able to get this oil into international markets, huge disruptions in the global supply should not be so intense. However, supply chains collapse and make this impossible, the world could lose up to ten percent of global oil in the coming months. It is important to note that changes in production will be seen around six months from now.