"Please use with caution."
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is warning users in Ukraine who have received one of the company’s Starlink dishes that the connection could be targeted by Russian state actors.
“Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high,” Musk tweeted on Thursday.
“Please use with caution,” he added.
It’s a risk that’s worth spelling out, especially given Russia’s extensive history of spying on adversaries — and its current espionage efforts are as evident as ever during the nation’s all-out assault on Ukraine.
The news comes after SpaceX sent an undisclosed number of Starlink hardware kits to Ukrainians hunkering down during Russia’s ongoing invasion.
Ukraine’s vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov had pleaded with Musk to provide Ukraine with Starlink connectivity, especially given Russia’s targeting of communications infrastructure.
The approach appears to be working out, according to Fedorov.
“Starlink keeps our cities connected and emergency services savings lives,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
But Musk is now seemingly concerned that individuals or institutions using Starlink to connect to the internet may be an easy target for Russian state actors.
It’s a precarious situation: with Ukraine battling with nationwide connectivity issues, reestablishing reliable communications is crucial.
But Russia is likely listening in as well.
More on the situation: Ukraine Vice Minister Says SpaceX Starlink Is “Saving Lives”