back to article Ukraine claims Russian military is using Starlink

SpaceX supremo Elon Musk has waded into controversy over the alleged use of Starlink by Russian forces. "To the best of our knowledge," Musk said, "no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia." Yesterday's response from the billionaire follows reports which indicate that the Russian military is using Starlink …

  1. naive

    Pickups from the battlefield ?

    Since Russia is gaining quite a lot, the terminals could be captured equipment.

    1. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

      Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

      The Russian gains have been minimal, and I'm not sure that Starlink would be used right on the frontline, but a little way behind for longer range communication. Plus, when the Ukrainians do retreat, it seems to be in good order following a mobile defense doctrine. So I think it's far more likely to be the Russians using terminals they've imported through sanction busting methods.

      Talking of mobile defense, the Ukrainians find themselves in a similar position to the Germans after Barbarossa and Case Blue failed. Generally superior equipment and training, but severely outnumbered. It was Hitler's insistence on holding ground at any cost that caused Stalingrad and later on the collapse of Army Group Centre. Hoping the Ukrainians can learn from that, and be more pragmatic - although the Bakhmut and now Avdiivka defense suggests otherwise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

        It seems obvious to me that Russia wouldn't use Starlink because they don't need to and because they can't trust a US corporation with their battlefield comms.

        But by sowing the seeds of doubt, they hope to persuade Starlink or the US government to limit its use in the conflict. Congress are already blocking $600m of aid to Ukraine, the Shouty Orange Moron who likes Putin is on course to be the next US president, so Russia are helpfully giving a hint that because they've destroyed so much Ukrainian civil infrastructure, then just by restricting Starlink, Zehlinsky will be pressured to accept a peace deal.

        1. I like fruits
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

          Russian army is not of a single entity. It's even possible that officially Starlink is prohibited there. However soldiers in the field use whatever gets job done. Communications has always been Achilles' heel of Russians. We've seen them using open radio communications since 2014. Search Internet for collections of Russian radio exchanges when they stood under Kyiv. Back then this was a professional and well-equipped by Russian standards army, not a dangerous mob of hobos we see now. When compared with open radio communications or even no connection at all Starlink is a definite improvement. As far as I know Starlink kit is provided to Russian army by their volunteer efforts and not through official channels.

          1. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

            > not a dangerous mob of hobos we see now

            I think they (the Russians) are quite capable of regrouping and reorganizing themselves and adapting their tactics and strategy. This war seems to have unfolded just like WW2 in that a large, well equipped and trained army was quickly rolled over by a nominally smaller force but it regrouped, reshaped itself and eventually prevailed. So I wouldn't discount them as a 'mob of hobos'. Its the Ukrainians that seem to be mired in the past with their 'fortress cities', 'wonder weapons' and 'not a step backwards'; this mindset has resulted in very significant losses over the last year or so that's led to acute manpower shortages (again, some significant parallels with WW2).

            As for Starlink, the kits portable and there's a lot of it about so some of it is bound to end up in Russian hands. Or rather, "in the hands of Russians". The SOP for Ukrainian propaganda is to throw around wild accusations that are designed to create a miasma of denials and doubt, in this case throwing shade at Musk personally (implying underhand dealing etc.). Its actually a tactic used very successfully by the Israelis so its reasonable to suggest they're employing the same consultants.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

              Come on people. Read the news. Starlink terminals are imported through Dubai. Look it up.

              @martinusger, as a Russian stooge, you should be better informed (or more forthcoming).

              1. martinusher Silver badge

                Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

                >as a Russian stooge,

                Excuse me, I'm actually an American.

                One thing about us is we are actually allowed to say what we think within very wide limits. We also don't suffer the deluge of one dimensional propaganda that characterizes British media (everyone there seems to be stuck in the "Four legs good, Two legs bad" mindset).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

                  > One thing about us is we are actually allowed to say what we think

                  One thing is to say what one genuinely believes. Another is to say what one wants others to believe. The former is information, the latter is disinformation.

                  We have a few childish characters here, who promote the hail of dictatorships because they resent the drizzle of democracies.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

                    One thing is to say what one genuinely believes. Another is to say what one wants others to believe. The former is information, the latter is disinformation.

                    Interesting interpretation. Who gets to decide? So previously we've been reliably informed about the Ghost of Kiev, the Heroes of Snake Island, little old ladies knocking out missiles with tins of veg and much, much more that's later turned out to have beein disinformation, or crude propaganda. Hence Goebbel's statement that effective propaganda, or the official misinformation needs to contain an element of truth. Otherwise people stop believing it, and credibility suffers. The MSM is discovering this effect, even as it tries to retain it's monopoly on misinformation via fascist legislation like the UK's Online Safety Act.

                    There may be another example here-

                    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-68292602

                    Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, who was appointed commander-in-chief last week, visited the front line on Wednesday hours after a Russian missile attack claimed three lives in the eastern town of Selydove.

                    There are rumors however that the attack killed more like 3-500 troops that were being redeployed form Kiev to Avdivka, ie most of a battalion. Then there are rumors that battalion was the infamous Azov. And then rumors Sirsky gave Russia the target, because Sirsky has family in Russia. There are elements of truth, ie troop redeployments were announced, a missile strike happened, and Azov is part of Ukraine's complex and often brutal political scene. Then the rumors are salted with additional facts. Sirsky and Zaluzhny don't exactly like each other. Different factions in Ukraine are loyal to different leaders. Zaluzhny just announced he's joining with former president Poroshenko. Zelensky hates Poroshenko and had him arrested on charges of treason.

                    We have a few childish characters here, who promote the hail of dictatorships because they resent the drizzle of democracies.

                    Childish characters? Certainly. But they're the people who just swallow and regurgitate propaganda or misinformation without thinking for themselves. As for dictatorships, soon, Zelensky's term as President comes to an end and there should be elections in March. Zelensky has banned opposition parties, media and has behaved in a pretty dictatorial way. He'll hold elections if we give him another $10bn. He's also very unpopular in Ukraine, especially as they face their warm body problem and have been talking about mass mobilisation and conscription. Holding an election in the middle of a war is obviously challenging, but democratic, and Zelensky would probably lose any 'free and fair' election. Or there'll just be another coup, and Zelensky gets removed anyway. We probably won't mind if that's Poroshenko as he was useful last time he was in charge.

                    But such is politics. Or there's just the way a grainy image of a Starlink terminal in Ukraine has lead to assorted conspiracy theories about how it got there, and how Musk must be helping Russia.. No evidence, but a lot of childish enthusiasm for something that may be disinformation. Maybe some Russians captured one, discovered it was active and are watching cat pron on it. But given foreign control of Starlink, why would Russia trust using them for anything even remotely sensitive when they're easily intercepted and geolocated?

                    1. collinsl Bronze badge

                      Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

                      The Ukrainian constitution bans elections during times of martial law. Therefore Zelensky couldn't hold an election whether or not he wants to.

                      As an American you should hold constitutions dearly and understand that ignoring them is a very bad idea.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

                        The Ukrainian constitution bans elections during times of martial law. Therefore Zelensky couldn't hold an election whether or not he wants to.

                        Sure he could. He could suspend martial law for the duration of the election. Maintaining martial law allows him to maintain his presidency, even if that takes on the appearence of a dictatorship, as does refusing any serious attempts at peace negotiations. But Ukrainians are currently victims of their political leaders given both Ukraine and Russia are due elections.

                        As an American you should hold constitutions dearly

                        Who says I'm an American? As a libertarian, I do support the idea, hence why I object to the way US politicians are currently abusing it.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

                      >> One thing is to say what one genuinely believes. Another is to say what one wants others to believe. The former is information, the latter is disinformation.

                      > Interesting interpretation. Who gets to decide?

                      Readers get to decide to which category each commenter belongs and how much they can trust what they read from them. In your case, it's clear for everyone, Mr Beluga: your comments don't contribute information.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

                        Readers get to decide to which category each commenter belongs and how much they can trust what they read from them

                        Indeed. Sometimes that includes being able to identify the commenter, rather than the commenter hiding behind the appearence of anonymity. Why don't you try this, so your intelligent and inciteful comments can be correctly attributed?

                        In your case, it's clear for everyone, Mr Beluga: your comments don't contribute information.

                        I think you may have replied to the wrong post. Or it's just another ad-hom. But you have expressed your opinion, and as usual have contributed no useful information.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

                          > Sometimes that includes being able to identify the commenter, rather than the commenter hiding behind the appearence<sic> of anonymity.

                          Oh I see. So, you really are identifiable as an eel? I thought that was a pseudo to keep your real identity secret.

          2. Grinning Bandicoot

            Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

            Goes back a lot further to the Tannenburg Forest in 1914. Well it seems that the present Czar wishes to emulate Nicky. Now to what degree will history repeat?

        2. Robert 22

          Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

          There is quite a bit of evidence that communications has been a weak link in the Russian military. Lots of reports of Russian comms in clear speech being intercepted and exploited by the Ukrainians.

          1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

            Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

            Cell phone targeting was a very hot thing a while back, for both sides.

            Anyone else recall the thousands of cheap cellphones dropped all across Ukraine in the hours before the initial invasion? Bet Russia wishes they'd kept them in reserve now! But it was a clever idea.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

          I was going to suggest that detecting Russian use of Starlink would be fairly easy by monitoring traffic patterns out of ground stations, but you've beaten me to that point

        4. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

          "It seems obvious to me that Russia wouldn't use Starlink because they don't need to and because they can't trust a US corporation with their battlefield comms."

          It doesn't have to be military comms. It could be a simple internet connection for troops to call home or a way to get information other than sensitive tactical communications. Official channels can get bogged down and military radios can be temperamental buggers. They are also often secured in ways that could mean the loss of the operator or a certain officer means there's nobody left with keys and the kit is dead weight.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

      Even if they captured terminals, it would be trivial for Starlink to prevent their use inside Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia, since the terminals have a GPS antenna and know their location. I'll bet Starlink HQ can show maps with dots showing where every active Starlink terminal is being used, and focus in on a specific terminal and block it from being used in that location (or at all) with a few mouse clicks. But only if they wanted to do that, when it appears in reality they simply don't care.

      1. collinsl Bronze badge

        Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

        And if they're used close to the frontline how do you tell which side the terminals are on? You don't want to stop them working if Ukrainian troops suddenly break through somewhere, and if you get the border wrong if the Ukrainians fall back then you've caused other problems.

        Also you don't want to block them entirely from the front line area because then neither side can use them.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

          Terminals also have UUIDs. Who's using them can be inferred from where they have been positioned in the past

        2. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

          Re: Pickups from the battlefield ?

          It's already been reported that elno has restricted the Ukraine military when they've tried to advance fast, by cutting off their starlink terminals.

  2. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

    It's just not possible to have completely watertight sanctions, so I'm sure if Russia wants to use Starlink terminals they'll be able to get them in limited numbers.

    I am wondering though, if the firmware can be modified such that only terminals supplied directly to Ukraine would work in that geographic area, and all others blocked.

    Some kind of cryptographic handshake that uniquely identifies each terminal and can't be easily spoofed by the Russians. I'm sure there's already the basis for this in the existing firmware, since it's a subscription service. Sure, they will most likely crack it eventually, so have regular updates that at least keeps them secure most of the time.

    1. Catkin Silver badge

      The issue is that many of the terminals used legitimately by Ukrainians are donated so there isn't one easy to tap into register.

      Probably, a better way to have handled this would have been to talk to Starlink quietly so that a plan can be worked out without telegraphing to Russia that the jig is up. Equally, they may have tried this and are unhappy with the pace so are using publicity to pressure.

      Using a geographic blackout is difficult too because it may cause units near the front line to stop working, so it would probably help for Ukrainian planners to work out the optimum strategy for their advantage.

      1. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

        Hadn't considered the donation of terminals. Taking of "quiet words", I wonder if the Pentagon had some of those with Musk after he switched off the Ukrainian's access to Starlink a while back.

        1. Catkin Silver badge

          Has that since been confirmed? The last time I read about that story on a fact checking website (Snopes), it was claimed that Starlink was never operating in Crimea (the area where it is alleged to have been deactivated, not across Ukraine, in any of the sources I've read) due to US sanctions. Supposedly, Musk received a last minute request to enable it in Crimea and balked. This clarification too may be out of date as well.

          1. Necrohamster Bronze badge

            "...it was claimed that Starlink was never operating in Crimea ..."

            The headline "Elon Musk sabotaged Ukrainian attack on Russian fleet in Crimea by turning off Starlink" suggests by its wording that Starlink was indeed active in the region until Musk ordered it to be turned off.

            The article says...

            "Musk on Thursday evening painted a slightly different picture to the one described by Isaacson. He said satellites in those regions were never turned on in the first place and he simply chose not to activate them."

            however...

            After speaking to the Russian ambassador to the United States — who reportedly told him an attack on Crimea would trigger a nuclear response — Musk took matters into his own hands and ordered his engineers to turn off Starlink coverage “within 100 kilometers of the Crimean coast.””

            1. Catkin Silver badge

              Thanks, I did think it was a case of he said/he said but, going back to the Snopes article, the original author of the book quoted there did clarify

              https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/09/14/musk-internet-access-crimea-ukraine/

              "To clarify on the Starlink issue: the Ukrainians THOUGHT coverage was enabled all the way to Crimea, but it was not. They asked Musk to enable it for their drone sub attack on the Russian fleet. Musk did not enable it, because he thought, probably correctly, that would cause a major war."

              In either case, it seems like Musk should have taken direction from the Pentagon (I imagine they have a 24 hour support number). I expect the Pentagon would have said" if you don't let us use Starlink, we'll let us use Starlink" and may well have said this later on.

              I think the switch off claim was given credence by the Medvedev quote. This may have been a mistranslation or a Russian attempt at misinformation.

              1. Necrohamster Bronze badge

                Musk regularly tries to revise the history of events, or put his spin on reality (like how Tesla recalls aren't actually recalls).

                My money's on him being the source of the disinformation, rather than the Russians for once.

                Snopes is great and all, but it's not the only source I look at when I try to figure out if something's true or not.

                1. Catkin Silver badge

                  Sorry, I probably didn't word that correctly. The person who made the claim in your cited article (Isaacson) issued the above quoted correction, not Musk. I agree on reading around but I think that someone correcting themselves is pretty conclusive in the absence of further corrections (and signs of being beaten).

                  1. Necrohamster Bronze badge

                    Isaacson's "clarification":

                    "To clarify on the Starlink issue: the Ukrainians THOUGHT coverage was enabled all the way to Crimea, but it was not."

                    contradicts what he wrote in his book:

                    "Throughout the evening and into the night, he personally took charge of the situation. Allowing the use of Starlink for the attack, he concluded, could be a disaster for the world. So he secretly told his engineers to turn off coverage within 100 kilometers of the Crimean coast. As a result, when the Ukrainian drone subs got near the Russian fleet in Sevastopol, they lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly."

                    Now if Isaacson lost his mind or had an alternative recollection to what happened in reality, don't you think it's strange that the book mentions the oddly specific distance of 100km from the shore...if in fact the coverage wasn't there at all as Isaacson later claimed on Twitter? I don't believe a biographer would just invent such a random fact to fill out a paragraph in a book. I also don't believe the Ukrainian military would've sent out drones on the mere *THOUGHT* that they'd have coverage. Do you?

                    Anyway the book is still for sale with that same text, so I'd have my doubts that the "clarification" is real, and not the result of Musk's leaning on Isaacson to change the narrative because he realised version of events in the book made him look bad.

                    Like I said already: Musk is no stranger to revisionism.

                    Like you said already: he said/she said.

                    1. Catkin Silver badge
                      Facepalm

                      That sounds like quite a reach, bordering on mental gymnastics. Good journalists publish retractions, corrections and clarifications. Provided they're not doing it due to past carelessness, that's part of what makes for a good journalist. The fact that Isaacson had more to gain by going with the juicier narrative than correcting himself makes me think he is a good journalist.

                      Given Musk's thin skin and poor impulse control, I would expect that if he had flying monkeys (simian or solicitous) which were that effective, he would have been able to do things like stopping the tracking of his private jet without resorting to the obviously childish banning of the Twitter account. One could equally say that the use of a simple clarification rather than pulling the book from the shelves for editing shows that Isaacson wasn't under significant duress but I'd say that, either way, it's not really a great piece of evidence.

                      Regarding the 100km, I wouldn't ascribe that as indicative of accuracy, it's a nice round number for describing how a sanction-compliant coverage blackout would also extend into the sea. Regarding the Ukrainian forces sending drones on the thought, "we don't know what we don't know" is a common military issue that's never been satisfactorily addressed and creates issues to this day. Case in point: the materiel failures Russia is experiencing.

                      I never disagreed with Musk being a revisionist but it seems like you're trying to be a little revisionist yourself by placing weight on one quote from a journalist while simultaneously dismissing a direct clarification from him. There's plenty of reasons to criticise Musk; indeed, there's plenty of reasons to criticise Musk over the reality of this event, I just think it's poor form to try to push a narrative that meets with your preconceptions.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Regarding the 100km, I wouldn't ascribe that as indicative of accuracy, it's a nice round number for describing how a sanction-compliant coverage blackout would also extend into the sea. .

                        I don't know why Ukraine would think this and why they'd expect Starlink to work near Crimea. That's claimed by Russia and de-facto controlled by Russia, so providing services there would be sort of in breach of sanctions. As would services in DPR & LPR, and any other territory Russia currently controls. So I guess it depends how Starlink policies it's service. The terminals have GPS so could be located and disabled if they're inside 'Russian' territory.

                        There's also contractual, political and escaltory risks. Starlink isn't supposed to be used for military use. Ukraine relying on Starlink to guide attack drones into Crimea or other 'Russian' territory could make Starlink a party to the conflict, and Russia has ASATs. It hasn't used them, yet. But if Ukraine keeps throwing it's toys out of the pram, perhaps Russia will start creating gaps in the Starlink constellation. Wonder if Nudelman's agreed to cover Starlink's losses if their birds are hit by a wandering Nudol?

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          > So I guess it depends how Starlink policies it's<sic> service. The terminals have GPS so could be located and disabled if they're inside 'Russian' territory.

                          Notwithstanding the fact that Elon Muskovite is yet another Putinophile lunatic.

            2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

              So the Russian ambassador to the US discussed the Russian military's nuclear strategy with Musk?

              As in all war, and on all sides, there is propaganda, deliberate misinformation and a small sliver of truth ...

        2. MonkeyJuice

          Unfortunately, since half of all active satellites are now owned by Musk, I do wonder how much of the shots the Pentagon actually call at this stage.

          1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

            Quite a lot, actually. When the US Government is your major customer and entirely incidentally the regulatory agency covering inauguration and operation of your product, you do want to walk a fine line between doing what they ask and adhering to whatever principles you may have picked up over the past couple of days doomscrolling your ego-stroking toy...

            (And rockets are controlled items, so Musk couldn't take his toys from the US to a different jurisdiction even if he wanted to, and he probably doesn't because approximately 100% of operational SpaceX launches use US government assets -- the Eastern and Western ranges, to name but two...)

            1. usbac Silver badge

              Yes, it comes down to one simple question: "Do you ever want to get another launch permit?"

              Or, alternatively: "Do you want to see your FCC license renewed?"

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Oh, then maybe that's why he staunchly denies the whole story. Just maybe.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Oh, then maybe that's why he staunchly denies the whole story. Just maybe.

                Maybe it's because he's right? Maybe it's because 'fact checkers' are wrong. Maybe it's because since Musk bought Twitter, a lot of people suddenly hate him.

                But one aspect is simple enough to check. Story goes these Starlinks were bought in Dubai and shipped to Russia. Should be simple enough to find Starlink terminals on sale or in use in Dubai. Musk says they're not available in Dubai. If Musk is right, where did the Dubai angle come from, and why are so many people believing this without question?

                I had doubts because I've done work in Dubai, and some VSAT solutions in the Middle East. Dubai has always been very restrictive regarding foreign communications companys operating there, along with restrictive licences for satellite services. I haven't done any work there for getting on for a decade, but AFAIK the rules haven't really changed much.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Wrong again.

                  > Should be simple enough to find Starlink terminals on sale or in use in Dubai.

                  In real life, Dubai is a trading center for the whole region. Not everything that is traded in Dubai si for local consumption. It's not because Starlink is not operating un the UAE that you cannot buy Starlink terminals in Dubai.

                  And again Muskovite is caught lying => Elon Musk's Starlink and Dubai's Elcome join forces to provide internet to maritime sector

                  The good thing about marine use is that it's not really bound to a fixed location... Coincidence. Probably.

                  "Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX, has linked up with Dubai-based marine electronics company Elcome International to provide internet services to the maritime industry.

                  The service, which uses Starlink's low-Earth orbit satellites — the largest constellation of satellites at such an altitude — will connect vessels, such as merchant ships, oil rigs and luxury yachts, to internet speeds that are up to 100 times faster than traditional satellite services, Elcome said on Monday.

                  Elcome will equip its customers with advanced solutions that leverage the capabilities of Starlink. Orders will be fulfilled from Elcome's logistics hubs in Dubai, Singapore and Spain with a variety of installation and support options available, the company added."

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Wrong again.

                    It's not because Starlink is not operating un the UAE that you cannot buy Starlink terminals in Dubai.

                    And? A lot of people seem convinced that Russia is buying Starlink terminals in, or via Dubai. Where is the evidence? I don't know if they're available in Costco or Walmart in the US, but perhaps they're being bought there, shipped to Dubai and then shipped onwards to Russia. Heavily sanctioned countries like DPRK or Iran have long established grey or black market supply chains though, and Russia is no different. After all during the Cold War, we set up straw businesses to buy titanium from the USSR, and they did the same thing.

                    "Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX, has linked up with Dubai-based marine electronics company Elcome International to provide internet services to the maritime industry."

                    Sure. Dubai isn't a major yacht servicing hub and Starlink would have records of any terminals supplied as part of that distribution agreement, and if they're in service, their real-time location. If Elcome ordered say, 100 terminals in advance of orders, they should be able to account for those. But this isn't stopping people creating wild conspiracy theories due to Musk Derangement Syndrome.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Wrong again.

                      > Dubai isn't a major yacht servicing hub

                      For a guy who "has worked in Dubai" you seem to be particularly misinformed. Mina Jebel Ali is among the 10 most important shipping industry port globally. DP World (Dubai Port) is one of the most important actors - present in 40 countries with nearly 100 marine and inland terminals under its management.

                      TBH, the amount of energy you put in refuting the Dubai origin of these terminals is just another clue that it's probably true.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Wrong again.

                        For a guy who "has worked in Dubai" you seem to be particularly misinformed.

                        And? I've also applied for licences and built PoPs in Dubai. I have some understanding of the politics and policies of legally importing and operating telecomms services in Dubai.

                        TBH, the amount of energy you put in refuting the Dubai origin of these terminals is just another clue that it's probably true.

                        Of course, dear Troll. Absence of evidence is obviously evidence of shenanigans. This is how conspiracy theories are born, and you swallow them all. Where is the evidence that Russia is using Starlink inside Ukraine, and Dubai was involved in the supply chain? The SBU says so, so it must be true. They have it on good authority from the Goats of Kiev, the Heroes of Snake Island etc etc..

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Wrong again.

                          Here, have a listen. Your Russian is probably better than mine.

                    2. martinusher Silver badge

                      Re: Wrong again.

                      I noticed from a street video of Tehran that all brands of phone are on sale in the stores, including all the latest Apple products. They cost about the same as every else as well.

                      I guess that "traders are going to trade". We're having all sorts of problems interdicting things like drugs so something that's just sanctioned by someone or another for some reason or another is going to be very low on the global priority list. Since most of it is made in China anyway and China is connected by land to Russia and the rest of Asia -- well, its only common sense.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Wrong again.

                        I noticed from a street video of Tehran that all brands of phone are on sale in the stores, including all the latest Apple products. They cost about the same as every else as well.

                        Yep. I've been there*, seen that. Stuff like Cisco kit is also embargoed and sanctioned, yet available in Iran. They have efficient black/grey markets for getting hold of kit. A lot is/was via Cyprus, or just neighboring states that only pay lip service at best to our sanctions. It does raise interesting questions though, like why Apple or Android devices work in Iran given they're easily located and tracked. Or maybe that's why they work.

                        *legally, and generally to explain that we'll apply for sanctions exemptions, but they'll probably not be approved. And we really don't want to be fined and jailed for sanctions evasion. Then applying for those exemptions from where we'd operate the services, and also from the US, because Cisco. Oddly enough, a lot of Iran's network is Huawei.

                    3. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

                      Re: Wrong again.

                      So you're just going to ignore that your claim was immediately debunked. Nice. /s

    2. RAMChYLD

      I believe all of them already have this functionality built in, otherwise one would be able to simply take a terminal on vacation and it'd still outright work. But as it stands, one need to pay a separate roaming add-on fee to be able to take the Starlink terminal on holiday.

      Honestly, I don't see the point of Starlink since I can get decent internet on 4G. The only benefit of having Starlink is if you're going to a place that does not have meaningful cellular coverage.

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

        In the case of Ukraine, using your mobile might be rather dangerous vs using a line of sight steered uplink to a satellite.

        There's been a lot of targets identified and killed by cellphone data.

  3. Necrohamster Bronze badge
    Alert

    "To the best of our knowledge..."

    "To the best of our knowledge," Musk said, "no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia."

    If wannabe Tony Stark denies it, that means Russia's got Starlink.

    Quite an upgrade from the $30 Baofeng radios the Russians are accustomed to using...

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      "Musk said, "no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.""

      Note carefully that no mention was made of no Starlink terminals being given to Russia.

      1. Necrohamster Bronze badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: "Musk said, "no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.""

        From what I can read elsewhere, the alleged terminals may have allegedly been sourced in Dubai. Allegedly.

        1. MonkeyJuice
          Joke

          Re: "Musk said, "no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.""

          Dubai? Most irregular!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "To the best of our knowledge..."

      "To the best of our knowledge"

      If a Starlink is working, someone's paying the subscription for it. It obviously won't be Russia because of sanctions but any other country could be paying the bill and the device itself could be used by Russian forces in occupied Ukraine.

      Unless SpaceX is disabling every Starlink inside Ukraine which is not registered as being used by Ukrainian and allied forces, it could be argued he's not doing enough to comply with sanctions.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: "To the best of our knowledge..."

        Unless SpaceX is disabling every Starlink inside Ukraine which is not registered as being used by Ukrainian and allied forces, it could be argued he's not doing enough to comply with sanctions.

        That would make Starlink a party to the conflict. If Musk really is a Russian stooge, it would give him a convenient list and location of all all terminals in use by Ukraine and it's allied forces. That would be a bit of a security risk, no? Hey, Elon, don't worry about the sanctions, but you see that swarm of terminals moving towards Crimea? Keep those active, ok? And don't tell Vlad they're inbound, there's a good chap..

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

          Re: "To the best of our knowledge..."

          You're a terrible troll, aren't you?

          There's already a list of subscribers, the list exists of every starlink terminal location known to about 10m CEP, it's part of the billing system!

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: "To the best of our knowledge..."

            You're a terrible troll, aren't you?

            That's a matter of perspective.

            There's already a list of subscribers, the list exists of every starlink terminal location known to about 10m CEP, it's part of the billing system!

            Now try reading what I said-

            If Musk really is a Russian stooge, it would give him a convenient list and location of all all terminals in use by Ukraine and it's allied forces.

            Likewise, if we had a list of terminals being used by Russia. Now, what's the CEP of either NATO or Russia/Iranian/DPRK land attack missiles and their blast radius? And knowing that, why would Russia use those terminals, knowing that we know where they're located?

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "To the best of our knowledge..."

      Musk, the best of your knowledge is not anything I would trust a fig leaf to.

  4. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    "If some terminals are being used, passing on their details to Starlink should trigger an investigation and possible deactivation. "

    By the time the Ukrainians have the details, I suspect the terminals are either non-functional or safely out of Russia's hands.

    1. Catkin Silver badge

      It might be worth investigating to identify the straw purchasers and deactivate others they might have purchased.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
        Joke

        But I'm not sure Elon's going to deactivate all the Starlink terminals he sold to the Chinese government...

        (Joking aside, you make a reasonable point: it's worth following that thread.)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          He didn't sold them, he gave them...

          And the the Chinese duplicated them and gave the new ones to Russia.

          It is cheaper that way, only 1 subscription ID for x1000 devices...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would the Russian military really use star link for anything military related? When I think about it like that this all seems a bit silly really.

    1. I like fruits

      Dear Anonymous, you have no idea. Communications has always been Achilles' heel of Russians. We've seen them using open radio communications since 2014. Search Internet for collections of Russian radio exchanges when they stood under Kyiv. Back then this was a professional and well-equipped by Russian standards army, not a dangerous mob of hobos we see now. When compared with open radio communications or even no connection at all Starlink is a definite improvement.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This the same Russia that's hacking western power infrastructure and every sovereign nation on the planet? I'm a bit confused here.

        It seems a bit naïve to believe that a military superpower is using open radio communications. How do you know they weren't open for a reason? How do you even know the radio exchanges are real? Was any advantage ever gained from them? Clearly not given the situation.

        It seems to me it suits the west to label them incompetent to push a narrative and label them competent to push another narrative. Both narratives can't be true. I really will never understand why people swallow propaganda without question or reasoning.

        1. MonkeyJuice

          Mostly because huge swathes of equipped troops were being reported routinely and rather quickly shelled into oblivion for absolute schoolboy comms errors. Misdirection is all well and good, but it has to actually achieve something on the battlefield other than broadcasting your presence.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Reported by who? Ukraine? Who have a clear reason for spreading propaganda to demoralise the enemy and make them look bad back home. If two countries are at war it is best to take anything either side says with a huge pinch of salt. We have no evidence of Russian losses. In fact for huge parts of the war Ukraine refused journalists access to the front line. Nearly all reporting has been whatever Ukraine says.

            As for achievements on the battlefield all I am seeing is a Russian win. They said at the start what they were going to do and the land they were going to take and they took it. Now they have set up defensive positions and Ukraine can't do anything. These are facts whether we like them or not and saying otherwise is just trying to fool yourself.

            I try to take an unbiased view on things and I am not swayed by multiple stories without evidence other than witness statements. I still have huge doubts that at the beginning of the conflict Russia sent a loads of tanks completely unprotected up a main road to Kiev on what is a suicide mission.

            1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

              "...a Russian win. They said at the start what they were going to do and the land they were going to take and they took it."

              So the Russian assault on Kyiv, including the airborne assault on Hostomel airport, that was repulsed, with the Russian logistics effort then collapsing, leading to the Russians have to abandon all the territory they took in that region, was a win?

              And the Russian rout from outside Kharkiv, that led the Russians to have to abandon a huge chunk of the territory that they had occupied was a win?

              And the Russian withdrawal from Kherson city, part of Kherson oblast, which Putin claims all of, was a win?

              And the continuous losses to the Russian Black Sea Fleet that started the war aggressively pushing at the coast near Odessa, and which now mostly lurks off the coast of Georgia, and which if it ran away any further would have to rename itself the Caspian Sea Fleet, is a win?

              "I still have huge doubts that at the beginning of the conflict Russia sent a loads of tanks completely unprotected up a main road to Kiev on what is a suicide mission."

              Then you clearly didn't watch any news broadcasts during February or March 2022.

              "We have no evidence of Russian losses"

              Apart from plentiful photographs, social media posts, the display of wrecked Russian vehicles in Kyiv, the Oryx website [https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-equipment.html], and numerous other confirmed sources.

              "Ukraine refused journalists access to the front line"

              Yet strangely, I've been reading first hand accounts from journalists in multiple different media organisations, plus seeing BBC reports, continuously for the last 2 years, reporting from the Ukrainian frontline. Often, the Ukrainian's take the opportunity to appeal for additional assistance from the world's democracies in their defence against Russian genocide.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                https://theintercept.com/2023/06/22/ukraine-war-journalists-press-credentials/

                “It’s wild how little of what’s happening is being chronicled. And the main reason, though not the only one, is that the Ukrainian government has made it virtually impossible for journalists to do real front line reportage.”

                "Late last year (2022), Zelenskyy also signed legislationOpens in a new tab giving the government vast powers over the media; the European Federation of Journalists had called an early draft of the bill “worthy of the worst authoritarian regimes.”!

                You were saying?

                Also, please don't devalue the term genocide. No one has ever stated it is or was a genocide. They haven't been called out on that because that's not what is happening. There is a genocide happening right now that has been called out because it is a genocide. I find your use of the word offensive and a disrespect to the thousands of children and civilians killed in Gaza especially on the eve of a genocidal massacre in Rafah.

                1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

                  The Russians are kidnapping Ukrainian Children, and are seeking to destroy Ukraine culture and language. They intend to destroy Ukraine as an independent country, with it's own unique national identity. It's genocide.

                  "I find your use of the word offensive"

                  I always try to be as polite on an internet forum as I would be in real life, so never aim to be offensive.

                  However, in this case, I really don't care.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    The Russians are kidnapping Ukrainian Children

                    Some of the 'kidnapped children' were from an orphanage in Mariupol who's caregivers had fled. But beligerents in a conflict have a duty to protect abandoned or orphaned kids, or civilians in general.

                    and are seeking to destroy Ukraine culture and language. They intend to destroy Ukraine as an independent country, with it's own unique national identity.

                    Germans tried that with their Teutonic mythology. A lot of Ukraine's goes back to this chap-

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legacy_of_Taras_Shevchenko

                    and the ideal of the noble peasent. Doesn't exactly fit with Ukraine's oligarch's spending habits or lifestyles, but there flat lands will be a great spot to plant windmills. Shevchenko wasn't a fan of the Industrial Revolution. Shevchenko has statues in Russia still, statues in Ukraine are being torn down and replaced with other national heroes like Stepan Banderas. I'm sure you can explain what Ukraine's 'unique national identity' is though. I wonder if Ukraine's existing ethnic populations like cossacks and tatars would agree?

                    It's genocide.

                    So are attempts to erase Russian, Hungarian or Romanian culture and traditions in Ukraine. The EU's even resorted to bribing Ukraine to stop doing this as the conditions (or Pillars) in the €50bn bung.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      > Some of the 'kidnapped children' were from an orphanage in Mariupol who's caregivers had fled. But beligerents<sic> in a conflict have a duty to protect abandoned or orphaned kids, or civilians in general.

                      You're surpassing yourself JE. We all know how careful the Russians are to protect civilians. 200,000 civilian victims in the 2nd Chechen war is just one example out of too many.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        You're surpassing yourself JE. We all know how careful the Russians are to protect civilians. 200,000 civilian victims in the 2nd Chechen war is just one example out of too many.

                        Hello again nlp. What does Chechnya have to do with Ukraine? Civilian casualties have actually been suprisingly low in this conflict, especially in comparison to the death rate in Gaza. That currently has the world record for the greatest body count in the shortest time and is likely to accelerate it's lead as Israel attempts to force another Exodus.

                        Meanwhile, in Ukraine, Ukrainians have been shelling markets and bakeries, and Budanov's Special Needs troops have been conducting daring insertions into Russia to shoot up civilians in towns close to the border.. Much as Ukraine's OUN forces did with other 'undesirables' around Volhynia during WW2. They're even flying the same red and black flag.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Take your pills.

                          You're really one of a kind... we should not bring up Chechnya (invaded twice by Putin after a notorious false-flag bombing by FSB in Moscow) because we're dealing with Ukraine... but you can bring up Gaza (which is not invaded by Ukraine, last time I checked).

                          Since you're a big fan of Wikipedia, why don't you check this very long list of Russian war crimes in Ukraine?

                          By late October, the Ukrainian Prosecutor's office had documented 39,347 alleged Russian war crimes. Chechnya 2nd war took 10 years IIRC, we're just getting to 2. Your friends can still catch up with Chechnya.

                          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                            Re: Take your pills.

                            You're really one of a kind... we should not bring up Chechnya (invaded twice by Putin after a notorious false-flag bombing by FSB in Moscow) because we're dealing with Ukraine... but you can bring up Gaza (which is not invaded by Ukraine, last time I checked).

                            Alleged false-flag bombing. But sure, I know you're trolling but bring up Chechnya. Another proxy conflict. We get all butt-hurt when Russia, China etc intefere with elections, but ignore Ukrainian donations to the Bidens or Clintons, and what influence that may have bought. Or the way we're interfering in Russian politics. Or our invasion and occupation of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, or the destruction of Libya or Yugoslavia.

                            It's rather hypocritical that we object to Russia doing things we do ourselves, or support our allies doing.

                            By late October, the Ukrainian Prosecutor's office had documented 39,347 alleged Russian war crimes.

                            And? They're not exactly a reliable or impartial source, and a previous Ukrainian prosecutor was fired after being caught making stuff up. There has been evidence of Ukrainian war crimes as well, and Russia is no doubt keeping it's own list. Ukraine says Russia is committing genocide, Russia says Ukraine is doing the same. We've chosen to support Ukraine, whatever it takes. This may include the victors charging Johnson with war crimes, conspiracy to committ war crimes, or theft, fraud and corruption. If Ukraine ends up in the EU, the EU may even support an internation arrest warrant for Johnson given they're still sore over Brexit.

                            But any and all war crimes accusations by any party to the conflict should be investigated, independently and impartially. The way our world has become divided and politicised makes that rather unlikely however. Traditional concepts like democracy and justice just aren't what they used to be.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: Take your pills.

                              > Alleged false-flag bombing.

                              Why do you think Putin poisoned Alexander Litvinenko?

                              1999 Russian apartment bombings - Alleged Russian government involvement.

                              300 victims that helped Putin become Tsar.

                              " Amy Knight, a historian of the KGB, wrote that it was "abundantly clear" that the FSB was responsible for carrying out the attacks and that Vladimir Putin's "guilt seems clear," since it was inconceivable that the FSB would have done so without the sanction of Putin, the agency's former director and by then Prime Minister of Russia"

                              etc..

                              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                                Re: Take your pills.

                                Why do you think Putin poisoned Alexander Litvinenko?

                                And the galloping gish continues. I don't remember Putin being caught on CCTV at the Millenium, making Litvinenko tea. I do remember 9/11 conspiracy theorists branding it an inside job, yet whenever Litvineko did the same thing, people believe him. CIA organised 9/11, FSB organised the apartment bombings. So it is written, so it must be. Then again Litvinenko also highlighted a curious fellow by the name of Semion Mogilevich who's been on the FBI's most wanted list for a long time.. But he's a Ukrainian, living in Russia. Why he's still living is something of a mystery, but Litvinenko was also investigating other corruption and organised crime. Always risky.

                                But it's much the same with other poisonings. All done in a uniquely 'Russian' way, but others had means, motive and opportunity. Much easier to blame Putin though because after all, we want him gone so we can put someone else in power that doesn't make our 'leaders' look as ignorant and gullible as you..

                                Oh.. JFK.. do you think Putin ordered that one as well?

                                1. Anonymous Coward
                                  Anonymous Coward

                                  One crime out of thousands...

                                  > I don't remember Putin being caught on CCTV at the Millenium<sic>, making Litvinenko tea.

                                  With all due respect, I think you'll have a hard time convincing anybody of Putin's innocence. The evidence is overwhelming. The identity of the perpetrators and the use of Polonium-210 are just two of many clues, duly noted by investigators and judges in at least a couple of high profile trials.

                                  President Putin 'probably' approved Litvinenko murder (BBC) "The murder of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 in the UK was "probably" approved by President Vladimir Putin, an inquiry has found. Mr Putin is likely to have signed off the poisoning of Mr Litvinenko with polonium-210 in part due to personal "antagonism" between the pair, it said."

                                  The European Court of Human Rights also reached the same conclusion "The court found in particular that there was a strong prima facie case that, in poisoning Mr Litvinenko, Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun had been acting as agents of the Russian state,".

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              I try to take an unbiased view on things and I am not swayed by multiple stories without evidence other than witness statements. I still have huge doubts that at the beginning of the conflict Russia sent a loads of tanks completely unprotected up a main road to Kiev on what is a suicide mission.

              That was a show of force that almost worked. It clearly wasn't any serious attempt to capture Kiev, just to focus the minds of the Kiev regime and force them to pull back forces from the Donbas and Crimea contact line. It almost worked, ie there were peace negotiations in Turkey, an almost agreement, but then Boris flew in and death followed. Boris has an awful lot of blood on his hands. There's plenty of evidence that Russia did suffer heavy losses, but also plenty of evidence that they weren't really expecting to be attacked.

              1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

                Apart from the fact that the Russians air assaulted Hostomel airport and fought ferociously to keep it.

                And drove on Kyiv's suburbs from multiple directions.

                And then their logistics collapsed, with vehicles running out of fuel, only to be towed away (with much publicity) by Ukrainian farm tractors, after the Russian crews had given up and started walking home.

                It doesn't matter how many times you tell the lie that it was a 'show of force'. We all saw the TV pictures and read the news reports - it was less than 2 years ago.

                It was a Russian assault on Kyiv, and it failed.

                It also doesn't matter how many times you lie about Boris stopping a peace deal. We have seen the interviews with President Zelensky and others in the Ukrainian government that make it clear, in their own words, that there was never such a deal in the offing.

                What guaranteed that the Ukrainians wouldn't even consider such a deal was the multitude of raped and murdered Ukrainian civilians that the Russians left behind when they retreated from Kyiv.

                Or do you think that Stronk Russian Army do show of force by means of rape?

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  It doesn't matter how many times you tell the lie that it was a 'show of force'. We all saw the TV pictures and read the news reports - it was less than 2 years ago.

                  You seriously think Russia intended to capture and hold a city of around 3m with a force of around 2-300,000? Especially when the forces Ukraine had massed around Donbas preparing to retake the DPR and LPR would (and did) head back to defend the capital?

                  It also doesn't matter how many times you lie about Boris stopping a peace deal. We have seen the interviews with President Zelensky and others in the Ukrainian government that make it clear, in their own words, that there was never such a deal in the offing.

                  Zelensky is a 2-bit actor and comedian who gets paid to read his lines. It's not hard to imagine the deal that was offered. Fight Russia for us, we'll give you billions and won't audit the spending. You'll be safe, just send a good chunk of your population into the meat grinder and we'll evacuate you if it all starts going a bit pear-shaped. Then as Putin put it in the Carlson interview-

                  We have never refused, and the fact that they obeyed the demand or persuasion of Mr. Johnson, the former prime minister of Great Britain, seems ridiculous and very sad to me, because as Mr. Arakhamia put it, we could have stopped those hostilities with war a year and a half ago already, but the British persuaded us, and we refused this. Where is Mr. Johnson now? The war continues.

                  Davyd Arakhamia is leader of Zelensky's 'Servant of the People Party', was a lead negotiator at the peace talks and unlike Denys Kireyev, wasn't executed by the SBU for 'treason'. 9th April, Boris landed and the peace deal was off. It wasn't until November last year that Arakhamia attempted to 'correct' the narrative but by then, Zelensky had already signed a decree that there would be no peace and so the deaths of even more Ukranians followed. Even though Russia has stated the SMO is all about attrition, Ukraine continues to sacrifice it's people. Latest is Sirsky has apparently decided to commit Ukraine's 3rd Assault Brigade, aka the infamous Azov to the relief of Ardivka. Perhaps Sirsky is also helping Russia achieve two of their SMO objectives.

                  As for BoJo, he's back to making money writing for the Daily Fail and being a clown on TikTok. It's preposterous that Russia can use 100yr old claims to territory! I guess he hasn't been keeping up with the news in the Middle East. Or noticed that Yugoslavia's no longer on current maps.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    > You seriously think Russia intended to capture and hold a city of around 3m with a force of around 2-300,000?

                    The cunning plan of the Russian geniuses was to "denazify" (i.e. kill Zelensky, his family and government) and to replace him with a Belarus-style puppet regime. The list of people to eliminate was already distributed to special ops and Zelensky assassination attempts were numerous in the early days of the invasion.

                    Same playbook as the Warsaw pact "sister countries" ecstatically signing their "Treaty of Friendship" with the Russian Bear. Not much progress there either.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      The list of people to eliminate was already distributed to special ops and Zelensky assassination attempts were numerous in the early days of the invasion.

                      Uhuh. During the peace negotiations, Naftali Bennet, former Israeli Prime Minister flew to Moscow and met with Putin. He apparently asked on Zelensky's behalf if Russia was trying to slot him, and Putin said 'Nope'. Decapitation strikes are generally considered poor form given if you eliminate the enemy's leadership, they can't seek terms. Or Russia may have just decided to leave Zelensky in place because he's doing such excellent work for them. Or it could have just been Zelensky's paranoia, but he has plenty of enemies internally.

                      As for kill lists, at least Ukraine makes theirs public-

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrotvorets

                      and includes Western politicians, journalists and for some reason, is still online.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Oh right. LMAO.

                        >He apparently asked on Zelensky's behalf if Russia was trying to slot him, and Putin said 'Nope'.

                        That same Putin who swore for 3 months he had no plan to invade Ukraine?

                        That same Putin who can't even remember all his lies?

                        U.S. says Russia has a list of Ukrainians to kill or detain after an invasion.. This was published by the NT just 4 days before the "special fiasco operation" was launched.

                        "WASHINGTON — The United States government has sent a letter to the United Nations human rights chief in Geneva saying it has “credible information” that Russian forces have compiled a list of Ukrainian citizens to be killed or sent to detention camps in the aftermath of a Russian invasion and occupation of the country, according to a copy of the letter obtained Sunday by The New York Times.

                        The letter, which was addressed to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, also said Russian forces planned to carry out widespread human rights violations, which in the past have included torturing and kidnapping civilians.

                        The likely targets would be people opposed to Russian actions, including dissidents from Russia and Belarus living in Ukraine, journalists, anti-corruption activists and members of ethnic and religious minorities and the L.G.B.T.Q. community.

                        “We also have credible information that Russian forces will likely use lethal measures to disperse peaceful protests or otherwise counter peaceful exercises of perceived resistance from civilian populations,” said the letter, which was signed by Bathsheba Nell Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations office in Geneva.

                        Three U.S. officials confirmed the authenticity of the letter and its contents. On Monday, Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, denied the existence of such a list. “This is absolutely made up,” he told reporters. “There is no such list. This is a fake.”"

                        Even the LGBTQ. Your friends are just insane, JE.

                        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                          Re: Oh right. LMAO.

                          That same Putin who can't even remember all his lies?

                          Oh, you had to go there. As opposed to the Biden, who couldn't remember misplacing classified documents, but clearly remembered meeting Germany's Chancellor Mitterand at a G7 conference. Then after getting very offended about people questioning his mental ability, talked about Sisi of Mexico. The Democrats wanted to invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump for his alleged mental competence and are now objecting to people questioning Biden's competence. As for lies, remember Putin died years ago because he's had a remarkable list of terminal illnesses, according to 'reliable sources' and our MSM.

                          But can you imagine Tucker interviewing Biden for 2hrs?

                          U.S. says Russia has a list of Ukrainians to kill or detain after an invasion.. This was published by the NT just 4 days before the "special fiasco operation" was launched.

                          And David Icke probably has a list of people who are really lizards. The NYT is a 'reliable source' that can be relied upon to spread the official misinformation, like Biden's laptop. You should perhaps read up on Goebbel's theory of propaganda, and that good propaganda must contain elements of truth. Russia almost certainly has a list of HVTs that it would like to detain and prosecute. People like Budanov are probably very high on that list. But again, every nation does this. You can buy America's card decks showing the HVTs they wanted to capture or kill in Iraq or Afghanistan on Ebay for example.

                          None of that really explains why Ukraine's kill list is still online though, especially given it contains politicians, journalists, children, all marked for liquidation.

                          Oh, as for LGB rights. Ukrainian's don't really have those. Ukraine's 'Right Sector' goons aren't exactly liberated in that way and there's a long history of violence against sexual, as well as religious and ethnic minorities.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                > but then Boris flew in and death followed. Boris has an awful lot of blood on his hands

                Yeah and Evil Churchill also prevented peace by refusing to surrender Britain during the Blitz. We know.

                It's too late now. How wunderbar it would have been to read The Register auf Deutsch every day. You'd love it Gelierter Aal.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  It's too late now. How wunderbar it would have been to read The Register auf Deutsch every day. You'd love it Gelierter Aal.

                  Those that ignore history are condemned to be anonymous trolls. Remember Trudeau and Zelensky giving a standing ovation to a chap that faught against Russia during WW2? That SS volunteer? Remember Azov and their patch, borrowed from the 2nd SS Panzer Division? Remember Ukraine's red and black 'war flag', that flew whilst Ukrainians allied with Hitler massacred Jews and Poles during WW2?

                  How quickly 'Never Forget' is forgotten.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    > Those that ignore history are condemned to be anonymous trolls.

                    Arguably, Boris Yeltsin was as uninspired elevating Putin to prime ministership as field marshal Hindenburg with naming uncle Adolf chancellor.

                    There is one difference though, Hitler was heading a nation with a very efficient industry. Not a wobbly federation of vassal republics stuck in the 20th century. History never totally repeats itself completely... let's see how the story unfolds this time around.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Not a wobbly federation of vassal republics stuck in the 20th century. History never totally repeats itself completely... let's see how the story unfolds this time around.

                      Uhuh. Of course the plan was to use the shock & awe sanctions to overthrow The Putin, break up the Russian Federation and proceed with the asset stripping. How's that been working out? Russia's economy has been growing, the EU's contracting, and now thousands of peasents are on the streets celebrating the economic & social miracle that the EU's 'leaders' have given us. For supposed 'socialists', the EPP really aren't very good at it. They are very good at emulating the conditions that lead to the collapse of the USSR though. Blowback's a bitch sometimes, and history has a habit of repeating itself. I mean it's not like agricultural reforms and food lead to the French Revolution, is it?

                      Let them eat cake, let them eat bugs. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose..

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Keep on believing.

                        > Russia's economy has been growing

                        You're not better at economy... right? Producing shells and equipment that gets destroyed on the front line is only contributing to GDP figures nominally but doesn't improve wealth. Russia's economy is a war economy in which the state is investing in its war. Production increases in the military sector, and consumption goes down. Exactly what the Soviet Union used to look like. Meanwhile, workforce scarcity and money printing will inevitably increase inflation (already high, yet under-reported). FX control will not be sufficient to avoid the hyper inflation scenario and subsequent currency crash. Natural resource income is dwindling. Not much to grasp at.

                        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                          Re: Keep on believing.

                          You're not better at economy... right? Producing shells and equipment that gets destroyed on the front line is only contributing to GDP figures nominally but doesn't improve wealth. Russia's economy is a war economy in which the state is investing in its war.

                          Says the person who didn't understand that prices are also costs. But GDP is also GDP. Trump just came out and said he wouldn't support NATO members that aren't paying their dues, currently 2% of GDP. This conflict has come with an uncomfortable truth, like the West can't sustain a conflict agains a peer-level opponent. Russia stated this is a war of attrition, and it's winning because it can outproduce the West. We've been de-industrialising and reducing defence spending, Russia (along with China) have not. Various Western 'leaders' have noticed and demanded we also move our economies to a war footing, but that's going to take a lot of time, and a lot of money. The one think Ukraine doesn't have is time.

                          But this has lead to brilliant ideas, like building weapons and munitions factories inside Ukraine. Genius move! Russia will expend the missiles they ran out of nearly 2 years ago bombing those factories. Then of course making stuff like artillery shells needs explosives, which often need ammonia, which the EU's trying to ban. And we used to import a lot of that from Russia anyway. So we're banning fossil fuels and making our energy even more expensive. Just what we need if we need to ramp up the Haber Process..

                          Meanwhile, workforce scarcity and money printing will inevitably increase inflation (already high, yet under-reported). FX control will not be sufficient to avoid the hyper inflation scenario and subsequent currency crash. Natural resource income is dwindling. Not much to grasp at.

                          In case you haven't noticed, the same is true in the West. Except our sanctions have incentivised Russia to become more self-sufficient, and seek new trading partners. Russian inflation is lower than most of the West, and natural resource income is actually increasing. Plus of course Russia sits on a shedload of natural resources that we need.. But then denying us access to those resources is one of the main reasons our inflation rate is higher, and rising. We're no longer allowed to buy cheap oil & gas from Russia, thanks to our dear 'leaders', so instead have to pay more and pretend Indian product isn't really re-badged and marked up Russian stuff.

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        This bot is already in election mode

                        Whatever you write, the response is about Biden (and sometimes Clinton). Time for a ban.

                        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                          Re: This bot is already in election mode

                          Whatever you write, the response is about Biden (and sometimes Clinton). Time for a ban.

                          You'd like that, wouldn't you. If bans were needed, perhaps there should be a ban on 'anonymous' trolls hiding behind being an AC to launch repeated ad-hom attacks. Why not create a pseudonym? At least that would make 'conversations' easier to follow for others. It would make your trolling more obvious to others as well, however.

                          So any luck finding any evidence that Russians are actually using Starlink inside Ukraine? It's not impossible given there are a lot of volunteers donating money, drones and other kit to both sides of this conflict.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: This bot is already in election mode

                            You'd be well inspired to peruse the House rules, each time you click "submit". The link is just above.

                            4. No trolling - it's OK to be provocative, but trolling is another matter.

        2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Rumor has it that there are countries with air and space-borne assets that listen to things happening on the ground. Those countries might choose not to comment on things they know because they'd rather know the things than have the peeps on the ground know they know the things.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Rumor has it that there are countries with air and space-borne assets that listen to things happening on the ground.

            Not just countries. You can buy this data here-

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HawkEye_360

            also an interesting video on the space war here that touches on some of HawkEye's product-

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahbnVYro1G8

        3. Necrohamster Bronze badge

          "It seems a bit naïve to believe that a military superpower is using open radio communications."

          1. Corruption. Some oligarch wins a contract to provide secure radios to the RU military. Instead the military gets basic Baofeng radios in a fancy shell case.

          2. Stupidity. Ukrainian SBU monitors the phone calls the RU soldiers make on their personal phones.

          3. Not just open radio comms. They use field telephones joined by cable just like it's WWI again.

          "Superpower" is overstating things a bit. They just have a lot of cannonfodder.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Superpower" is overstating things a bit. They just have a lot of cannonfodder.

            Do you actually believe that?

            In the current conflict there have been multiple precision guided missiles fired at Kiev and other targets that got through the defence shield. Lots. They have extensive armed forces and weapons. Warships, submarines, aircraft and missiles. Look at what they did to Syria? They like America have military bases all over the place. They have nuclear weapons advanced enough to be a deterrent.

            How did the media get you believing the Russian army is a few pissed up Russians on the back of a tractor? Did you think when the cold war ended they just stopped building a military or new weapons?

            As for comms. As I said they won in Ukraine so what advantage did it give and there is no way anyone is going to make me believe any military on the planet would use open comms during conflict that mattered for anything. That is just crazy talk because you are basically saying the Russians are clueless about encryption.

            1. MonkeyJuice

              > That is just crazy talk because you are basically saying the Russians are clueless about encryption.

              And yet... kaboom. Gestures vaguely.

            2. Necrohamster Bronze badge
            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Can't drink, can't drive. Can't think, can't thrive.

              > How did the media get you believing the Russian army is a few pissed up Russians on the back of a tractor?

              Not everybody is getting their "information" from RT.

            4. IGotOut Silver badge

              @AC.

              If they have extensive weapons and this fantastic military. Answer this simple question?

              Why are they not fielding their best aircraft with it's amazing stealth and incredible firepower? Is it because they are not actually stealthy at all?

              Why are they not using their best tanks that apparently can deter any attack towards it? Is it because the odd one they did deploy were crippled, and subsequently taken apart and found to be little more than ancient hardware with lipstick?

              Why are they not deploying the much vaunted "Terminator" platform in the numbers they claim to have? Is it because they have been taken out by little more than a repurposed mine attached to a drone and they don't actually have many at all?

              If it's all going to plan, why has this two week invasion pt2, gone on for so long?

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Why are they not fielding their best aircraft with it's amazing stealth and incredible firepower? Is it because they are not actually stealthy at all?

                Because they don't need to? As Russia continues to degrade Ukraine's GBAD, it's increasingly been using it's old bomb trucks to deliver FABs onto Ukrainian positions.

                Is it because the odd one they did deploy were crippled, and subsequently taken apart and found to be little more than ancient hardware with lipstick?

                Citation needed. AFAIK Ukraine hasn't crippled or captured any T-14s, and they've only seen very limited use in field trials. Nations like keeping secrets, which is one of the reasons we've been donating obsolete or downgraded kit to Ukraine. Next on the list of wunderwaffe, the F-16, which is even older than I am.

                But there has been some new stuff showing up, eg-

                https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/13/europe/ukraine-russia-zircon-hypersonic-missile-intl-hnk-ml/index.html

                A key “consideration is Russia’s ability to produce and field a capability like Zircon at scale, especially as the program will compete for financial and other resources with priorities like rebuilding the Russian ground forces,”

                Another key consideration is our ability to counter hypersonic missiles that are currently being field tested by Russia. Then also create our own..

                1. Necrohamster Bronze badge
                  Happy

                  Fella, you need to change your username from "Jellied Eel" to "Beluga Caviar" or something more fitting to your level of Russophilia.

                  I haven't seen so much copium and propaganda since Russia Today and Sputnik were banned from the airwaves.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    I haven't seen so much copium and propaganda since Russia Today and Sputnik were banned from the airwaves.

                    If you want copium, Denys Davydov can probably sort you out. But such is politics. Russophobia rules the waves. Propaganda spewed out by Ukraine is dutifully swallowed by useful idiots, and anyone who dissents must be a Putin stooge, Russian troll etc etc. It can't possibly be that there are actually some people who disagree with our treatment of Ukraine since 2014, or Ukraine's treatment of it's own people. But you'll happily carry on cheering until the last Ukrainian is killed in a senseless conflict, because The Putin must be stopped.

                    Meanwhile, you don't notice the EU collapsing slowly around you as a direct result of the decisions of our 'leaders'.. But of course it wasn't their fault, it was Russia, right?

          2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            2. Stupidity. Ukrainian SBU monitors the phone calls the RU soldiers make on their personal phones.

            As does Russia. Stupidity is allowing troops to take radio beacons onto the battlefield. Russia's soldiers are ordered not to, which is one of the reasons there's far less footage from the Russian side. Ukrainians seem far less concerned about opsec and persec. Detect phones in a treeline in a field? Then detect the same phones in a 'hotel' or apartment building. What do you think might happen next?

            3. Not just open radio comms. They use field telephones joined by cable just like it's WWI again.

            Not sure why you think that's a bad idea. Want to call your mates in the next defence trench? Russia's version of Stingray can detect your phone, DF if and pass the location to the nearest artillery battery for servicing. Field telephones don't radiate, so you're less likely to get TOS'd for using an Apple or Android in a war zone.

        4. Robert 22

          https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/russian-comms-ukraine-world-hertz

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            A UK military think tank working for the UK government. Do you really think that's a credible source? When someone goes to great lengths to tell you they are independent 9 times out of 10 they aren't. Why do they even need to be independent?

            1. MonkeyJuice

              I think you have to provide evidence to the contrary rather than posting whatabouts from a v for vendetta mask. I also feel you are not quite as plugged into the opensource intelligence community as many of the posters in this megathread of fail.

          2. Necrohamster Bronze badge

            Ah yes, these are the radios I was on about. AZART secure radios with a Baofeng inside:

            https://www.radioscanner.ru/forum/topic48460-3.html#msg1517009

            The post dates from 2021, so this appears to be a long-running scam.

            The AC would have us believe otherwise :D

  6. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Big Brother

    How about

    All starlink activity in the region is passed through a Ukrainian intelligence office before (or in parallel to) hitting the internet.

    Russia using starlink? Well Ukraine now know what you're doing over it.

    OK, they might be smart enough to use encryption but it could at least identify communications endpoints and might be useful for identifying kit in Russian hands.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: How about

      Who is "they"? The Soviet (sorry, Russian) conscripts who appear ill-equipped and poorly trained? I agree, there's grave doubt operational commands from Comrade Colonel Boss are passed through Starlink, but I have zero doubt that emails and the Chinese WeChat messages and video calls home to mom do...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about

      My favorite part about this post is you have a silver badge so you're probably eel like.

  7. low_resolution_foxxes

    Starlink terminals are basically large 4G mobile WiFi devices, in the sense they are extremely portable devices that are trivial to obtain for less than £1000.

    They literally do not work in Russia. Although it may be a grey area where the border ends and coverage starts.

    Curiously, there is a Wikipedia map of Starlink coverage in Ukraine which claims that only areas under clear Ukrainian control are covered, even showing a map of the exact coverage provided. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_in_the_Russo-Ukrainian_War

    Perhaps it is possible the Russians have claimed some units from fallen Ukrainian positions - and are using Starlink within Ukraine? It seems the most plausible scenario.

  8. MrDamage Silver badge

    Weasel Words

    He's not lying if he just gave them to Papa Putin free of charge.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Weasel Words

      Tzarlink, amirite?

    2. Necrohamster Bronze badge

      Re: Weasel Words

      Spasibo, Elon Muskovitch

  9. DS999 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Weasel words

    "To the best our knowledge" He seriously expects us to buy that?

    In order to function Starlink terminals have a built in GPS antenna (because it has to know where it is and what time it is in order to know where to look for Starlink satellites) There's no way that information is not uploaded to Starlink HQ, presumably for debugging purposes but also to keep an eye on where their equipment is being used.

    Musk very carefully stated they aren't being used IN RUSSIA. That's not the allegation here. The allegation is that Russian forces are using them in occupied Ukrainian territory. Starlink has the GPS coordinates of every terminal in use, they could easily place those on a map that shows the occupied territory (which has seen very little movement in the past year) and see terminals used in occupied territory. And disable them, if they wanted.

    That Musk is using weasel words like "to the best of our knowledge" and specifying "in Russia" means he knows Russia is using Starlink services, and simply doesn't care. It isn't like it would be difficult for a Russian living in Europe to buy Starlink equipment and ship it to Russia, where it is then forwarded to occupied Ukrainian territory for use. The only difficult part would be actually using it - but only if Starlink was trying to prevent it.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Weasel words

      That Musk is using weasel words like "to the best of our knowledge" and specifying "in Russia" means he knows Russia is using Starlink services, and simply doesn't care.

      Or he's been told to keep them active. Earlier someone suggested all Starlink traffic goes through Ukraine's SBU. If it doesn't, it'll go through the relevant earth station where it can be intercepted. TPTB may have decided there's some value in letting Russians (or DPR/LPR seperatists) carry on using them. But Russia would know that Starlink traffic is obviously vulnerable to interception.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Weasel words

        Surely it is encrypted, and even beyond whatever encryption is built in the Russians would use their own encryption on top of that.

        One thing they can't hide though are the radio emissions, which would make a good target for a missile or drone attack. Though may make sense to wait until intelligence suggested higher ranking officers or valuable equipment was nearby.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Weasel words

          One thing they can't hide though are the radio emissions, which would make a good target for a missile or drone attack. Though may make sense to wait until intelligence suggested higher ranking officers or valuable equipment was nearby.

          Such is war. That's been the job of signals intelligence units ever since radio. But I think we seriously underestimated how sophisticated Russia's military has become. The 'orcs with shovels' and recycled washing machines has seemed rather good at jamming and spoofing GPS, amongst other things. There's also the way Russia coined the term "maskirovka"

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_military_deception

          which every nation tries to do. So if you have something that you know is vulnerable to interception, use it to feed misinformation. Everyone does this and the West is making it easier with sanctions against anyone who doesn't support their official misinformation. See the UK's Online Safety Act as an example, where challenging misinformation could result in jail time.

          But it's kind of how this story started. An image of a Starlink squariel shows up on the 'net. People assume that means it's in operation, was supplied by Dubai and a whole bunch of other potential conspiracy theories. Russia may have just captured some and scattered them around as decoys. I'm kinda curious how much fun hackers could have with smarter missiles or drones though. Enemy detects a rogue terminal, launches something that's smart enough to seek-on-MAC.. Then just spoof the MAC address to swap that onto another terminal and watch the fireworks. GPS spoofing is already being used to misdirect or redirect missiles, and also part of drone hijacking.

          1. DS999 Silver badge

            Re: Weasel words

            You're way overestimating the capability of Russia's forces with that last bit. They may be more than Orcs with shovels, but given that the only reason their lines held this summer was due to all the shoveling they did to put up WW I style trenches, tank traps and minefields that's a better description than your belief that all the convicts, 18 year farmers and forced conscripts from vassal states are technical wizards who will fake you out with with a decoy Starlink terminal and switch MACs in flight to trick you into attacking your own forces.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Weasel words

              They may be more than Orcs with shovels, but given that the only reason their lines held this summer was due to all the shoveling they did to put up WW I style trenches, tank traps and minefields

              Russia's defence lines have been rather effective, haven't they? It's amazing how traditional methods for defending territory actually work. Of course Ukraine also knew this, hence their fortresses in Bakhmut and Avdiivka, the latter being from where Ukraine had been shelling the Donetsk population pretty regularly since 2014. But shovelling has been something of a theme during this conflict. Russia didn't around Kherson or Kharkhiv, so when Russian forces retreated, Ukrainians didn't hurt themselves stumbling into uncovered excavations. It was almost as if Russia had no intention of holding that territory.

              But it did clearly signal intent to hold other locations, and Ukraine's 'leaders' have been busily throwing their population at those defences in a WW1-style attempt to count Russia's guns or something. Ukraine also seems to have learned the value of decent defences. Or not. Ukrainians have been complaining that defensive positions they're supposed to be falling back to are little more than muddy trenches. But then for some reason best known to Zelensky, the job of building their version of the Surovikin line was given to Ukraine's Ministry of Digital Transformation. I'm sure the Fedorov line looks great in CG with it's digital skin and concrete textures applied though.

              .. are technical wizards who will fake you out with with a decoy Starlink terminal and switch MACs in flight to trick you into attacking your own forces.

              And yet somehow, Russia has hypersonic missiles, enhanced drones, GPS jamming & spoofing, the ability to locate 'smart' phones carried by dumb users on the battlefield etc etc. Having ELINT in a missile is perhaps stretching current technnology, but ELINT in drone swarms isn't as far fetched.

  10. Oneman2Many

    Who is telling SpaceX where the frontline is and where it should and shouldn't work ?

    As for the terminals, apparently supplied via UAE but mostly likely that is BS.

  11. BenMyers

    Smuggled Starlink gear?

    Isn't it in the realm of possibility that at least one StarLink ground station has been smuggled into Russia? How about two, one to use and the other to hack and replicate many times over.

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