Illustration shows Starlink logo and Ukraine flag


  • Russia's Tobol warfare systems appear to be 'more advanced' than claimed in previous U.S. assessments
  • Musk last year warned that Kremlin is ramping up efforts to target Starlink technology
  • Ukrainian forces have used Starlink systems to target Russian positions at night

Russia is planning to destroy the Starlink satellites given to Ukraine by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in the early days of the war, according to a classified intelligence report.

For months, Moscow has experimented with its Tobol electronic warfare systems designed to disrupt Starlink's transmissions in Ukraine and prevent Ukrainian forces from using the internet amid the ongoing war, The Washington Post reported, citing a top-secret U.S. assessment report it obtained.

In addition to the plan to sabotage Musk's Starlink satellites, which was not disclosed by the U.S., the outlet also noted that Russia's Tobol warfare systems appear to be "more advanced" than previous assessments claim. That being said, the assessment did not indicate if Russia achieved successful results when testing its warfare electronic systems.

The report appears to affirm what Musk warned in May last year. The SpaceX CEO said at the time that the Kremlin had attempted to target Starlink technology and that Russian forces were "ramping up their efforts" to bypass the satellite systems' resilience against "jamming and hacking" attempts.

The classified intelligence report is one of the many top-secret Pentagon documents leaked online earlier this month through the messaging platform Discord.

Starlink has been vital to Ukraine's military capability over the past 14 months. In fact, the Armed Forces of Ukraine rely on Musk's satellite systems to communicate to troops across the battlefield and relay any intelligence. Ukrainian forces have also used the internet provided by Starlink satellites to target Russian positions with anti-tank munitions at night.

Outside of Ukraine's military, civilians who have been affected by power outages as a result of Russian drone attacks and shelling use Starlink terminals to connect to the outside world.

Starlink satellites also made it easier for users to be geolocated while they are operating. This is why Ukrainian soldiers often have limited time to set up a portable Starlink internet dish, transmit their message, or complete their mission and disassemble and disperse from their location before they are located by Russian forces, per Defense One, which interviewed a Ukrainian soldier with the call sign "Boris."

A Ukrainian serviceman stands next to a vehicle that carries a Starlink satellite internet system near the frontline