Ukraine will receive another 10,000 Starlink antennas; Financing issues “solved”

Enlarge / A Starlink satellite dish in Odessa, Ukraine, in March 2022.

Pictures of Getty | NurPhoto

Ukraine government official Mykhailo Fedorov said in an interview with Bloomberg that Ukraine will have more than 10,000 Starlink terminals in the coming months thanks to a new agreement with SpaceX and funds from various European countries. Fedorov said that “all financial problems have been resolved,” at least until the spring.

SpaceX has previously asked the Pentagon to raise funds for the Ukrainian government and military to use Starlink broadband, saying it cannot afford to donate more user terminals or pay for operations indefinitely. But CEO Elon Musk backed out from that stance in October, writing: “Damn… Starlink is still losing money and we will continue to fund the Ukrainian government for free, even though other companies are getting billions of dollars from taxpayers.”

Fedorov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and minister of digital transformation, in a new interview with Bloomberg, said: “Musk assured us that he will continue to support Ukraine. When we had a strong power outage, I texted him that day and he reacted in a moment and took some action already. He threw it away. He understands the situation.”

Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The war continues and has forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes.

Starlink’s satellite Internet service is vital to the Ukrainian military amid disruptions to its cable broadband networks. “There is no alternative to satellite connections,” Fedorov told Bloomberg in an interview at his office in Kiev.

Governments partially funded Starlink for Ukraine

Although the US government is helping to fund the Starlink service in Ukraine, Musk Wrote on October 7 He said “only a small percentage” of the Starlink terminals and service is outsourced and that “the operation cost SpaceX $80 million and will exceed $100 million by the end of the year.”

In a Foreign Policy report published last month, it was stated that the US Agency for International Development purchased 1,508 Starlink terminals for Ukraine for approximately $3 million in March and “delivered another 3,667 terminals donated by SpaceX.” The Polish government paid about $5.9 million for Starlink services. [in Ukraine]With the support of Polish state enterprises” and the UK also contributed.

Ukrainians also bought Starlink terminals themselves.

Fedorov told Bloomberg that Ukraine has received about 22,000 Starlink antennas since February, not including the 10,000 that are expected to ship in the coming months. He also talked about new financing agreements with European countries:

While there is no contract yet, the official, who said the governments of several European Union countries were ready to share the payment, refused to make them public. “From now on, all financial issues have been resolved,” he said, adding that Ukraine will need to find additional funding in the spring.

According to Bloomberg’s report, Ukraine is preparing for possible long-term cuts if “Russia manages to destroy the country’s energy infrastructure further.”

“We are ready to live without electricity for a month, at least while mobile network and text messages are available,” Fedorov reportedly said. “Regarding the internet, we have a lot of Starlinks, but the key is that we have received approval for another post that will be used to stabilize the connection for critical situations.”

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