The American company SpaceX has taken steps to prevent the Ukrainian military from using the Starlink satellite Internet service to control drones in the region in the war with Russia. This was stated by the president of SpaceX, chief operating officer Gwin Shotwell, writes Euractiv.
During the press conference, she said that the Starlink satellite Internet service, which provided the Ukrainian military with broadband to defend against Russian forces, was never intended to be used as a weapon.
"Ukrainians used it randomly, which was not part of any agreement," she emphasized.
Talking to journalists, the president referred to reports that the Ukrainian military used the Starlink service to control drones.
"There are things we can do to limit their ability to do that, and we have," she said, referring to Starlink's connection to drones, but declined to specify what steps the company had taken.
Shotwell noted that the use of the Internet by SpaceX when controlling drones goes beyond the agreement with the Ukrainian government. Instead, she added, it is intended for humanitarian purposes, such as providing broadband Internet to hospitals, banks and families affected by the Russian war.
"We know the military uses them for communication, and that's fine. But it was never our intention for them to use it offensively," she said.
Asked if SpaceX envisioned using Starlink for offensive purposes in Ukraine when deciding to deliver terminals to conflict zones, Shotwell concluded: "We didn't think about that. Our Starlink team could, I don't know. But we learned pretty quickly."
According to the Ministry of Statistics, in January 2023 there were 30,000 Starlink units in Ukraine.