House Democrats press SpaceX on Russia’s alleged use of Starlink terminals

Democrats on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee pressed SpaceX on Wednesday over allegations that Russia is using the company’s Starlink terminals in its war against Ukraine, “potentially in violation of U.S. sanctions and export controls.”

In a letter to SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell, Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) said they are alarmed by the possibility that Russia could be using Starlink technology to “coordinate attacks against Ukrainian troops in illegally occupied regions.”

“Russia’s misuse of Starlink terminals outside Russia’s internationally recognized borders poses a serious threat to Ukraine’s security, Ukrainian lives, and U.S. national security,” Raskin and Garcia wrote.

Raskin serves as ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, while Garcia serves as ranking member of its Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs.

Ukraine’s main military intelligence agency alleged last month that Russian forces were using Starlink terminals in occupied areas of Ukraine, with a spokesperson suggesting that the issue was “beginning to take on a systemic nature,” according to Reuters.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a post on X that reports SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia are “categorically false,” adding that none of its terminals have been directly or indirectly sold to Russia “to the best of our knowledge.”

However, Raskin and Garcia suggested that the allegations raised questions about “the efficacy of your company’s safeguards and compliance with U.S. sanctions and export controls.”

The two Democratic lawmakers asked SpaceX to provide details about how the company handles reports about and prevents the “possible illegal acquisition, trade or use” of its Starlink terminals.

“We are concerned that you may not have appropriate guardrails and policies in place to ensure your technology is neither acquired directly or indirectly, nor used illegally by Russia,” they wrote.

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