Ukraine trusts Musk's Starlink but is also looking for other suppliers

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Ukraine trusts Elon Musk to continue providing internet access through his rocket company SpaceX's Starlink satellite system, despite a failure last month, but it is also looking at other providers, the report said one of his deputy prime ministers on Thursday.

Ukraine government seeking alternatives to Elon Musk's Starlink

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Mykhailo Federov, who is in Portugal for the Lisbon Web Summit, said Ukraine had discussed Starlink directly with Musk and was confident the Tesla and Twitter CEO would not shut down the service in Ukraine.

Starlink has "worked, is working, and will certainly work in Ukraine", Federov, who heads Ukraine's Ministry of Digital Transformation, said at a news conference in response to a Reuters question about the service.

"Elon Musk has spoken about it publicly and we've had a conversation with him about it, so we don't see a problem with that", Federov said.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, SpaceX activated Starlink and has since supplied Kyiv with thousands of terminals, allowing Ukrainians to connect to the internet in areas beyond the reach of the national telecommunications system. Both civilians and the Ukrainian army use the links.

Last month, Musk tweeted that SpaceX could no longer afford to provide the service to Ukraine indefinitely - only to backtrack two days later and say he would continue to do so as an example of "good deeds".

At the same time, some Ukrainians complained about internet outages near the front lines, and Musk angered Ukrainian officials by promoting a peace plan that Ukraine would give in a part of its territory to Russia.

Fedorov stated that the Russian attacks in October that knocked out 40% of Ukraine's energy infrastructure emphasized the importance of maintaining communications systems.

"One of the reasons I came to Web Summit is also to seek out new partners and to continue to develop and engage with new partners", he said.

“Communication is crucial”, he added. "We are working on this issue around the clock. Russia hits energy infrastructure, and we sometimes go without power for eight hours."

Fedorov spoke at a press conference alongside Microsoft Chairman Brad Smith, who announced an additional $100 million in technical assistance for Ukraine through 2023.

"This will allow the government and other organizations in Ukraine to continue to manage their services and serve Ukrainian citizens through the Microsft Cloud and our public data centers across Europe," said Brad Smith.

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