Putin puppet says Russia could blast Western satellites out of the sky

Elon Musk activates SpaceX Starlink service over Ukraine

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Russia could blast Western satellites being used to help Ukraine’s war effort, a senior Kremlin official has warned – raising the prospect of spiralling escalation of the conflict. And while there was no mention of specific companies or individuals, the apparent threat may be aimed at Elon Musk, given earlier this month the billionaire pledged that his rocket company SpaceX would continue to fund its Starlink internet service in the country.

There was no immediate reaction from the United States or commercial satellite providers.

Konstantin Vorontsov, a senior Russian foreign ministry official, described the use of Western satellites to aid the Ukrainian war effort as “an extremely dangerous trend”.

He told the United Nations First Committee: “Quasi-civilian infrastructure may be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike.”

Claiming the West’s use of satellite technology as “provocative”, Vorontsov added: “We are talking about the involvement of components of civilian space infrastructure, including commercial, by the United States and its allies in armed conflicts.”

He did not mention any specific satellite companies, though Elon Musk said earlier this month that his rocket company SpaceX would continue to fund its Starlink internet service in Ukraine, citing the need for “good deeds”.

Mr Musk said insisted SpaceX has not received any funding from the US Department of Defense, a day after reports suggested the Pentagon is considering paying for the Starlink satellite network in war-torn Ukraine.

SpaceX is losing roughly $20million a month from unpaid service and costs related to security measures for cyberwar defence, but “we’ll keep doing it (sigh)”, Mr Musk tweeted.

He added: “No money from DoD, but several other countries, orgs & individuals are paying for ~11k/25k terminals.”

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Mr Musk, the world’s richest man and chief executive of Tesla Inc, said SpaceX spends nearly $20million a month for maintaining satellite services in Ukraine and that the company has spent about $80million to enable and support and support Starlink there.

Moscow in August accused the United States of direct involvement in the war after Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, told the Telegraph Kyiv was using US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers based on what he called excellent satellite imagery and real-time information.

Satellite images of the conflict zone captured by commercial US satellite imagery firms are pored over daily on Twitter by open source intelligence experts who highlight the coordinates of potential Russian military vulnerabilities.

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Russia has a significant offensive space capability – as do the United States and China. In 2021, Russia launched an anti-satellite missile to destroy one of its own satellites.

In February – days before Vladimir Putin ordered his invasion of Ukraine – the UK announced plans to invest £1.4billion to bolster national interests in space, as part of its Defence Space Strategy.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “It’s crucial we continue to push the frontiers of our defence space ambitions, enhancing our military resilience and strengthening our nation’s security.

“This significant investment will help to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of space innovation and one step ahead of our competitors.”

There was no immediate reaction from the United States or commercial satellite providers.

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