Pentagon confirms it's buying SpaceX Starlink services for Ukraine

black-and-white spacex falcon 9 rocket launches from florida
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 21 Starlink "V2 mini" satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Feb. 27, 2023. (Image credit: SpaceX via Twitter)

The Pentagon has confirmed it is buying SpaceX’s Starlink broadband services to provide communications in Ukraine.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been supplying Ukraine with Starlink terminals since the Russian invasion of the country in 2022, providing vital communications after the destruction of infrastructure within the country.

However, SpaceX stated in September 2022 that it could not continue funding the Starlink service for Ukraine and had asked the Pentagon to step in and cover costs. A deal is now in place to provide the vital communications services.

Related: SpaceX's Starlink megaconstellation launches in photos

"Satellite communications constitute a vital layer in Ukraine's overall communications network and the department contracts with Starlink for services of this type," Ars Technica reported, citing a June 1 Department of Defense statement.

"We continue to work with a range of global partners to ensure Ukraine has the satellite and communication capabilities they need," the statement continued.

The Pentagon did not reveal details of the contracts, citing operational security concerns.

SpaceX expressed concerns earlier this year over the use of Starlink by the Ukraine military for offensive means. Company President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell stated that the service was "never, never meant to be weaponized," 

SpaceX revealed in December that it is developing a partner project called Starshield. The service is designed for use by government agencies, particularly those in the national security sector.

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Andrew Jones
Contributing Writer

Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.