Democrats Launch Major SpaceX Probe

Two House Democrats are demanding to know whether SpaceX was doing enough to stop Russia from using its Starlink satellite internet terminals in its war against Ukraine, Reuters reported.

In a March 7 letter to SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, House Oversight Committee ranking member Jamie Raskin and Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs ranking member Robert Garcia cited allegations by intelligence officials in Ukraine that Russian forces were using Starlink terminals in eastern Ukraine.

The Democrat lawmakers described the allegations as “alarming” and noted that Russian forces utilizing Starlink technology could be a violation of US sanctions.

They told Shotwell that the use of Starlink terminals outside of Russia’s borders would pose a threat to both Ukraine and US national security and a “serious threat” to “Ukrainian lives.”

Moscow has denied using Starlink terminals in Ukraine.

In the letter, first obtained by the Washington Post, Rankin and Garcia expressed concern that SpaceX “may not have appropriate guardrails and policies in place” to prevent Russian forces from utilizing Starlink’s satellite internet service.

SpaceX provided Starlink terminals to Ukrainian forces not long after Russia’s invasion, which proved vital to Ukraine’s battlefield communications.

Officials in Kyiv have said that access to Starlink terminals gave Ukrainian forces an upper hand by providing reliable internet to stream drone feeds and coordinate artillery attacks against enemy forces.

Last month, Ukrainian intelligence claimed that Russia obtained Starlink terminals from Arab countries for $2,200 each and was deploying them in Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine.

Officials in Kyiv asked SpaceX to use the system’s algorithms to block Moscow’s use of Starlink terminals in Ukraine.

SpaceX has said that it does not provide Starlink terminals to the Russian government or military.

Last month, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk insisted that it was “categorically false” that SpaceX was selling Starlink terminals to Russia. He said in a post on X that no Starlink terminals had been sold to Russia either “directly or indirectly.”