Russian invasion is taking a toll on internet access in Ukraine

The news: Russian military strikes in Ukraine’s cities are being blamed for various internet outages across the country.

More on this: The UK’s Ministry of Defence said it was “highly likely” that collateral damage from Russian attacks are the direct cause of disrupted internet access, per PCMag.

  • “Over the past week, internet outages have been reported in Mariupol, Sumy, Kyiv, and Kharkiv,” the ministry said. Those four cities are currently under siege and facing heavy bombardment. "Russia is probably targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure in order to reduce Ukrainian citizens’ access to reliable news and information.” 
  • Ukraine’s major internet service provider, Ukrtelecom, reported the Russian bombardments were causing serious damage to its telecommunications networks. 
  • “We remind you that due to the damage to infrastructure during the combat, subscribers of 12 regions experience a reduced speed of internet access,” the company wrote on its Facebook page.

The problem: While Ukrtelecom’s repair crews have managed to restore some internet services, the service provider is forced to limit customer bandwidth. What little internet connectivity is available is slow, which is affecting critical communications. 

One solution: The Ukrainian government is working with SpaceX’s Starlink, which has been sending ground terminals for satellite internet access. "Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted Saturday.

What’s the catch: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk cautioned that the Russian military will likely target Starlink terminals in Ukraine. The situation remains precarious as Russian forces continue to target infrastructure.