LOS ANGELES — SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk said Saturday that the company's Starlink satellites are now active over Ukraine.
"Starlink service is now active in Ukraine," Musk said on Twitter. "More terminals en route."
He was replying to a Ukrainian government official who had called on Musk to provide internet access via Starlink. Widespread internet outages had rolled through Ukraine as Russia invaded.
"While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine!" Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted. "While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand."
Starlink is a space-based system that SpaceX has been building for years to bring internet access to underserved areas of the world. It includes close to 2,000 Starlink satellites orbiting Earth more than 340 miles up. The system was also used in Tonga after a huge volcanic eruption and tsunami severed a crucial undersea cable, cutting off its main internet connection for weeks.
The exchange took place as Ukrainian forces battled to hold Russian forces back from Ukraine's capital and residents sheltered in subway tunnels, basements and underground garages. The U.S. and EU rushed ammunition and weapons to Kyiv and announced powerful new financial sanctions aimed at further isolating Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin hasn’t disclosed his ultimate plans, but Western officials believe he is determined to overthrow Ukraine’s government and replace it with a regime of his own, redrawing the map of Europe and reviving Moscow’s Cold War-era influence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.