Russian EW disrupts Starlink near frontlines, says military expert

Ukrainian soldier sets up Starlink terminal
Ukrainian soldier sets up Starlink terminal

Russian electronic warfare equipment can interfere with Starlink operations up to 30 to 40 kilometers from the line of contact, Serhiy Beskrestnov, a military expert in communications, electronic reconnaissance, and warfare, known by the call sign "Flash," said in a recent interview with Radio NV.

"I can confirm that we have indeed encountered problems with the impact of Russian electronic warfare equipment on Starlink," he said.

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"Specifically, it only works in the frontline areas, which means it does not affect our rear. This is where we are in close contact with the Russian Federation to a depth of 30 to 40 kilometers. Currently, we are seeing this in several parts — in the Kharkiv Oblast, in the Kherson front sector, and in the Zaporizhzhya sector. We are working on this problem."

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This follows an earlier report by The New York Times on May 24 about the disruption of Starlink connectivity in Ukraine's Kharkiv Oblast ahead of a new Russian offensive.

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The disruptions reportedly hindered Ukrainian military efforts as they attempted to counterattack using drones. Communication lags became so severe that soldiers resorted to using text messages, which were difficult to send, according to a Ukrainian official.

Kari A. Bingen, a former Pentagon official and electronic warfare expert, suggested that Russia could be jamming Starlink by using powerful radio frequencies to overwhelm communication channels. Such "invisible attacks" are typically launched from vehicles equipped with large radio towers.

Additionally, experts believe Russia may be employing specialized electronic weapons on drones to disrupt GPS signals utilized by Starlink.

Further corroborating these concerns, The Washington Post on May 17 reported significant disruptions to Starlink terminals during a Russian offensive in the Kharkiv Oblast on May 10, which resulted in a loss of internet connection for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

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