Elon Musk activates SpaceX Starlink service over Ukraine

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Throughout their invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s forces have consistently attacked the nation’s communications infrastructure both physically and via cyberattacks. In late February, the Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted a request to Elon Musk for Starlink satellite internet receivers. The entrepreneur has since provided more than 10,000 dish antennas, which have been deployed in settings from governmental buildings, hospitals and schools — through to helping to control drones used to combat the invading Russian forces.

Mr Musk tweeted last night: “If I die under mysterious circumstances, it’s been nice knowing you.”

The SpaceX CEO’s glib but grim comment came after he shared a statement from Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin.

Translated from Russian, the text began: “From the testimony of the captured commander of the 36th Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Dmitry Kormyankov…

“…it turns out that the internet terminals of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite company were delivered to the militants of the Nazi Azov Battalion and the Ukrainian Marines in Mariupol by military helicopters.”

The statement continues: “According to our information, the delivery of the Starlink equipment was carried out by the Pentagon.”

“Elon Musk, thus, is involved in supplying the fascist forces in Ukraine with military communication equipment.

“And for this, Elon, you will be held accountable like an adult — no matter how much you’ll play the fool.”

Mr Musk — who posted a picture of both the original text and its translated counterpart — added: “The word ‘Nazi’ doesn’t mean what he seems to think it does.”

The false assertion that the Ukrainian government is “pro-Nazi” and thus needs to be removed has dominated Putin’s efforts to justify his invasion.

While the use of this narrative has become more fervent in recent months, the Russian president has long dubbed Ukraine’s pro-Western revolution of 2014 as a “fascist coup”.

The notion is especially bizarre given that the current Ukrainian president — Volodymyr Zelensky — is himself Jewish.

In fact, last year he signed into law a bill intended to combat anti-Semitism.

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According to psychologist Dr Jon Roozenbeek, Putin’s suggestion that Ukraine needs to be de-Nazified is part of an effort to demonise and other the leadership in Kyiv.

The University of Cambridge expert recently undertook a study into the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of Russian propaganda in Donbas, in the southeast of Ukraine.

He added that the Kremlin has been operating under a “vast overestimation of the extent to which its lies about non-existent Ukrainian ‘fascists’ promoted pro-Russian sentiment.”

The Kremlin’s propaganda, he suggested, has been compromised in their efforts to foster long term division in Donbas by failing to provide a pro-Russian sense of identity — an “in-group” story to contrast against the “out-group” of Mr Zelensky’s government.

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