US sending 4 satellite communications antennas to Ukraine: Pentagon

Devices 'are going to provide additional communications capabilities to the Ukrainians at a critical time,' says spokeswoman.

US sending 4 satellite communications antennas to Ukraine: Pentagon

The US announced on Friday that it is delivering four satellite communications antennas to Ukraine as part of a larger $275 tranche of new security assistance intended to bolster Kyiv's counteroffensive against Russian forces occupying the country.

Pentagon Spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said the communications devices are not Starlink devices, and are being taken from US stocks.

"These sat comm antennas are going to provide additional communications capabilities to the Ukrainians at a critical time, but are separate from what Starlink provides," she told reporters, referring to satellite communications.

They "are not intended to serve as a substitute for service like Starlink. They help increase communication efforts on the battlefield," Singh added.

The Pentagon said on Oct. 14 that it is engaged with Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, which runs the Starlink internet service, about ensuring continued internet access for Ukraine.

The announcement comes after CNN reported that it obtained a letter from SpaceX’s government sales chief warning that the company would no longer be able to foot the bill for Starlink services, which would cost tens of millions of dollars per month.

“We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time," the letter says.

The Starlink satellite internet terminals have been critical to Ukraine’s battlefield successes against Russia, enabling the country’s military to rapidly communicate on the battlefield.

Another document obtained by CNN from Ukrainian Gen. Valerii Zaluzhniy in which he directly appealed to Musk for some 8,000 Starlink terminals.

A consultant working with Starlink responded in a document addressed to the Pentagon, saying “SpaceX faces terribly difficult decisions here. I do not think they have the financial ability to provide any additional terminals or service as requested by General Zaluzhniy."

Musk said on Sunday that even if the Pentagon did not foot the bill for Starlink services the company would continue providing the service.

The deliveries of the satellite antennas are part of the 24th delivery of equipment to Ukraine from US inventories under what is known as presidential drawdown authorities.

The latest tranche includes additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, 2,000 155mm anti-armor rounds, over 1,300 anti-armor systems, 125 Humvees, small arms and over 2.75 million rounds of small arms ammunition, Singh said.

Hüseyin Demir

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