What is the ‘electronic war’ that Russia is waging with Ukraine and that has blocked their Internet connection service?

What is the ‘electronic war’ that Russia is waging with Ukraine and that has blocked their Internet connection service?
What is the ‘electronic war’ that Russia is waging with Ukraine and that has blocked their Internet connection service?

ANDukrainian army is not having a good time and Russia It is, little by little, gaining ground. The lack of reserviststhe slow arrival of new supplies and the air superiority of the enemy forces explain the reasons behind the bad times that it is experiencing these weeks Kyiv on the battlefield. However, a new variable was added to this equation: Ukrainian soldiers are running out of internet at the front.

(Read here: Artificial Intelligence: the risks of an algorithm deciding who lives and who dies in a war)

According to a new investigation by the American newspaper The New York Timessome brigades of the Ukrainian army are experiencing slowness in service Starlink Satellite Internet which they use to communicate, collect intelligence data in real time and carry out drone attacks. In many cases, complete service cuts were also reported, which would also be giving the Russian army an advantage. And, apparently, Moscow would be using a powerful weapon to deny the connection.

Led by the tycoon Elon Musk, Starlink has been a vital part of the Ukrainian military since the beginning of the conflict in 2022. “Without full service, Ukrainian soldiers said, they could not quickly communicate or share information about the surprise attack and resorted to sending text messages. Their experiences were repeated throughout the new northern front line,” the Times reported a few days ago.

And the war in Ukraine has been a conflict in which new technologies have been protagonists. The use of drones for surprise attacks against the enemy is a great help for soldiers who usually face a grueling trench conflict. This is why the slowness in the delivery service is critical for Ukraine. Starlink.

Starlink, by Elon Musk.

Photo:Jim Watson. AFP/Starlink

Without full service, Ukrainian soldiers said, they could not communicate quickly or share information about the surprise attack and resorted to sending text messages. Their experiences were repeated throughout the new northern front line

“As Russian troops made advances this month near Kharkov, Ukraine’s second-largest city, they deployed more powerful electronic weapons and more sophisticated tools to degrade the Starlink service,” the New York newspaper reports.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Digital Minister, recently detailed that these sophisticated Russian methods aim to interfere with the Starlink satellites that provide high-speed connection on the ground. These satellites send signals to Earth through mobile antennas, which are carried by the Russian military. The antennas, in turn, distribute the Internet like a W-Fi ‘router’ to any device.

In Fedorov’s words, Moscow is testing “different mechanisms to alter the quality of Starlink connections” due to the importance of this system among Ukrainian units.

Ukrainian military in the Zaporizhia region.

Photo:AFP

A race for electronic and space warfare

Ukraine has not specified what type of technology the Russian military is using. However, several theories are speculated. On the one hand, Russia would be launching high-power radio frequencies to overload satellite connections. The other theory is that Moscow uses signal jammers that prevent Starlink’s GPS signals from working.

Along with these hypotheses, the Pentagon issued a statement last week that may also give clues to where Russia is taking its “electronic warfare.” In fact, last February it was revealed that the Russians would also be using Starlink as a communication tool in the invasion.

The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez (d), and the president of Ukraine, Volodímir Zelensky.

Photo:EFE

According to the Department of Defense, Moscow launched what is likely a space weapon and deployed it in the same orbit as a US government satellite.

“Russia launched a satellite into low Earth orbit that we assess is likely a counterspace weapon, presumably capable of attacking other satellites in low Earth orbit,” Pentagon spokesman Air Force Gen. Pat Ryder said at a briefing. press on Tuesday night. “We have a responsibility to be prepared to protect and defend the space domain,” he added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov declined to comment when asked about reports that Moscow had launched a space weapon.

Vladimir Putin, president of Russia.

Photo:EFE

“I cannot comment on this in any way. We acted absolutely in accordance with international law, we did not violate anything and we have repeatedly advocated a ban on any weapons in space,” he said at a news conference in Moscow.

Moscow and Washington have accused each other of wanting to weaponize space after the United States vetoed a Russian motion on nonproliferation at the UN. A similar initiative by the United States was blocked in April by its counterpart. All this indicates that while a war is being fought on the ground between soldiers, there is also another that takes place in space, a much more strategic one that will surely be increasingly relevant in future conflicts.

 
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