Is it possible to buy Starlink in the Russian Federation?

1 May 2024 13 minutes Author: Cyber Witcher

We highlight the ways in which Russians circumvent international restrictions for the purchase and use of Starlink technologies on the territory of the Russian Federation and the regions occupied by it in Ukraine. Specific cases of the use of Starlink by the Russian military in the occupied territories of Ukraine are also described, which raises questions about the ethical and security aspects of using modern technologies in conflict zones.

Starlink Without Borders: Investigating the Illegal Market in Russia

You cannot officially buy Starlink terminals in Russia. But no one said anything about the territories of Ukraine occupied by it. And also, as it turned out, the Russians find workarounds for the supply of Elon Musk’s terminals and bring Starlink, in particular, through the UAE and Kazakhstan.

Molfar analysts, together with experts from the Cyber Warfare Research Institute, prepared a material in which they tried to investigate whether Starlink is being sold in Russia. And to verify this, using HUMINT methods, we contacted Russian intermediaries and clarified all the details. The sellers themselves told where Starlink is delivered from, what the cost of the devices is, how many are available and what the scope of deliveries is expected to be.

In February 2024, information appeared that Russian occupation forces were using Starlink on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, the Ukrainian military complained about problems with the stability and speed of the Internet from Starlink. Here is the coverage map as it appears on the official Starlink website.

Screenshot from the official Starlink website

As you can see on the coverage map, Starlink operates on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, it works in the territories temporarily occupied by Russia in Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, as well as in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In Russian stores where Starlink is sold, they claim that the terminals will work even in the occupied Crimea, although there may be signal interruptions. In private conversations, Russian Starlink sellers say that the terminal still does not work in the territory of the center of Russia. However, there are videos on social networks, for example from Volgograd, where the Starlink satellite signal works perfectly. According to the feedback in the store, Starlink works well in the Altai Republic.

Who sells Starlink in Russia: we talk to store representatives

Screenshot from a Russian site that resells Starlink in Russia

“Known satellite Internet” – this is how some sites in Russia write about Starlink in disguise, because officially Starlink cannot be purchased in the Russian Federation. What can you say about the territories occupied by Russia.

We have collected a list of Russian stores that indicate that they sell Starlink on the territory of the Russian Federation. Next, using HUMINT methodology, we obtained detailed information about where Starlink was being shipped from, prices, quantities, and scale of planned deliveries.

  • Top Machines List the Starlink sale as “Starlink available for SVO”. As the representative of the store said in the conversation, they have been engaged in sales for 1.5 years and provide an “eternal” guarantee for the equipment and the account, if there are no flights to the terminal itself. The seller also said that he is known among the Russian military and senior management. In a dialogue with us, as part of HUMINT methods, the seller said that as of February 21, 2024, they had a minimum of 80 Starlinks in stock.

  • DJIRUSSIA.RU Official distributor of Chinese DJI quadcopters. Indicates that Starlink sells in Russia. The price includes “connection and the first month of use”. The seller does not indicate the limitation of the area of use. Sells Starlink in Russia. The website states that the system has been tested “for operability in Crimea, LPR, DPR, Kherson region, Kaliningrad region and Kamchatka”. According to the WebArchive, the site has been active since at least August 2023. iMiele Online appliance store. Using HUMINT methods, it was found that as of February 20, 2024, 10 Starlinks were available. The sellers added that they expect a large shipment by the end of the week, February 25, 2024, resulting in 60 devices in total (1, 2).

  • StarlinkRF It is noted that their store is “the largest supplier of starlinks in the Russian Federation”. They also indicate that their stations “work in the DPR, LPR, Kherson region, Crimea, St. Petersburg.”

  • For Gun is an online store for military equipment. According to HUMINT, as of February 19, 2024, Starlink was available. The seller in the conversation said that they provide either US or European accounts.

  • Shopozz  A store selling products from American, European and Chinese online stores. Starlink and its components are resold from foreign stores with delivery to Russia.

  • Equipment Shop on the VK marketplace. According to HUMINT, handle account activation and payment through their intermediary in Europe. According to the manager, the terminal works in the occupied Ukrainian territories. As of February 19, 2024, Starlink is available in the store. As of February 23, 2024, they had 12 Starlinks in stock, and a batch of 80 sets can still be ordered, but there is a month’s wait. You can listen to the audio recording of the HUMINT conversation with the seller.

  • Spectech Consulting Equipment store, selling Starlink. If required, can provide US or European contract for tariff payment.

  • Online electronics store specializing in quadcopters. Starlink is sold, customers are given an American or European contract to use the terminal.

Also, at least 1 Starlink terminal ad for sale was found on Avito. This ad was posted on February 19, 2024. The seller indicated that he is a private individual and also sells drones and a military backpackпродає дрони й військовий рюкзак

What do Russian Starlink sellers say? Details of the HUMINT operation

HUMINT is a method of gathering information, which consists in creating and entering into direct contact with a person who possesses the necessary information. In other words, HUMINT is “agency intelligence”

One of the stores is located in Moscow, at 20 A Khodinsky Boulevard. On the main page of the site, they openly write why and to whom they sell Starlink. Of course, this could be just a marketing gimmick, so the experts of the Cyber Warfare Research Institute contacted several stores in the Russian Federation that sell Starlink equipment and tried to clarify the details by writing to the seller in the chat. The contact person of this store said that the sale of Starlink has been going on here for about half a year.

Screenshot from communication with the Russian seller Starlink

From further communication, it became clear that the equipment was brought from Europe and had not been activated yet. Starlink itself in this store costs 240,000 Russian rubles (about $2,500), another 13,600 rubles ($145) for subscription and activation. The seller creates an account himself and pays through foreign bank cards. Store representatives provide instructions for setting up and use, sell spare parts and spare parts. There are 5 or more devices in stock. Payment is accepted only in cash. The seller refused to provide serial numbers, explaining this by experience with cases of blocking.

According to another seller, quoted by a Russian portal, dated February 5, 2024: “The problem is in the contract. You need to have an acquaintance in America or Europe who will purchase not only the subscriber station, but also the tariff. Through it, this tariff must be replenished every month. The equipment can easily be transferred to another tariff – like changing the SIM card, but also through a contact abroad.”

Payment for connection in Kaliningrad is made through iMiele sellers, or buyers can pay for the internet themselves with a Kazakh or any international card.

strlnk store. The owner said the equipment was imported from Europe and the UAE. They have been driving Starlink in the Russian Federation for about a year. The seller complained about the blocking of Starlink since February 2024 and said that there were many cases when it was installed in the morning and already blocked in the evening. She added that about 20% of the goods they sold were blocked.

Starlink photos sent in correspondence

The cost of Starlink in this store is 240,000 rubles per unit of equipment, 13,600 is the cost of a monthly subscription. Address: Solnechnogorskiy gorodskoy, Goluboe village, Tveretsky proezd, house 19, residential building. Phone number: +7 926 912 2246.

Top machines store. The owner admitted that the equipment was brought from the USA. They have been driving Starlink for about six months. Here the device is more expensive than in previous stores – 249,000 rubles per unit of equipment. Another 20,000 rubles for activation and 13,600 for a monthly subscription fee. Starlink is activated via vpn. I did not provide a photo. The address is the same Khodynsky Boulevard, 20 a.

The location of the top machines store

How does Starlink get to the Russians? Ways of sale

The only problem for the Russians was that Starlink was “detained at all borders on the way to Russia.” These are the words of one of the representatives of the online store. An article in one Russian publication notes that although all Starlinks are smuggled, supplies are made on a wholesale scale. Sets are now sold activated, and the price for them is lower.

One of the Starlink supply channels to Russia runs through the UAE. This confirms the interception of the conversation of the occupiers. Another confirmation is a specialist who works for the Top Machines store. The Telegram store has links to Dubai. Another Russian store, DJI russia, also has connections to Dubai via Telegram (1, 2, 3).

Both stores are subscribed to the group for sending parcels from the UAE to Russia.

Another channel is Kazakhstan. In this case, we are talking about the retail supply of Starlink to Russia. The store “Vezem iz KZ” orders goods from abroad to Russia. In February 2024, they published a list of possible pre-order products. These include the Starlink (1, 2) and a link to order it from US Best Buy

For example, a Starlink terminal with serial numbers KIT302722171/ 02533004-509 is known to be supplied. It is made in the USA and certified for sale in the EU. Also, the store “Top Machines” activated the device with the serial number KIT300272364 (1, 2) and probably KIT300893265.

At least 18 Starlink kits have been identified as being shipped to Kazakhstan starting on 24/04/2022. The supplier for Darin Tel Ltd. was the UAE company Safa Telecom. The legal entity “Too Darin Tel” operates under the name “IEC Telecom Kazakhstan”, according to the website, is part of the IEC Telecom group – a satellite operator and operates in Europe, Turkey, Singapore and, in particular, in the UAE.

The list of Starlink devices discovered on the territory of Russia by experts of the Institute for the Study of Cyber Warfare

Has Starlink been sold in the Russian Federation before? Overview of mentions

On February 6, 2024, information appeared on the website that the sale of Starlink terminals had started again in the Russian Federation. It was claimed that there were advertisements for sale on the iMiele appliance sales site in May 2023, but then the terminals were taken off the market for an unknown reason. As of February 19, 2024, no confirmations have been found that the first terminals were in the Russian Federation in May 2023. According to the web archive, in May 2023 a section appeared on the site selling, probably, Internet equipment, but there is no information about what kind of products were in this section.

According to, fighters of the “Wagner” PMK used Starlink terminals as early as January 2023 during the Bakhmut assault: they found some terminals in the positions left by the Armed Forces, some terminals they brought from Africa. On February 11, 2024, the GUR confirmed the use of Starlink by the Russians in the area of hostilities and stated that the scale of use was increasing. The next day, February 12, 2024, Elon Musk stated that “to the best of the company’s knowledge, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.”

Which of the Russians used starlinks?

Volunteers In regular military units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, there is a direct ban on the use of Starlink equipment, they are used only by volunteer units. The manager of one of the suppliers of equipment for military needs explained: “These detachments are not documented, but there are a lot of them. Sellers of Starlink equipment do not know where to look for them – this is the reason for such a massive public offer of Starlink kits in online stores.”

The 83rd Airborne Assault Brigade of the Russian Federation is located near the towns of Klishchiivka and Andriivka. The data on the use of Starlink GUR by this brigade was obtained during the interception of the occupier’s conversation, in which he reports that the Russians have installed the application and have Internet access.

According to a TG post dated February 12, 2024, Espanyol’s division has been using Starlink terminals for, as they noted in the post, “for a long time.” The photo in the post shows 1 Starlink terminal. According to the publication, “Espanyola” is a volunteer fan special unit, consisting of Russian football fans. Unit group contacts listed as @daniil_maloy (TG id: 1430451711, @daniil_utkinn). He is a member of chats Sborka Krasnodar, Wildberries Krasnodar, Mariupol | ANNOUNCEMENTS.

According to a video on the TG channel by Russian volunteers Kateryna and Valentina Kornienko on February 12, 2024, the Starlink terminals were probably transported for the 58th Combined Arms Army, which is located in southern Ukraine. Requests for help are accepted only from the command, help 50k fighters

Volunteers. In January 2024, a post was published on VK asking for the purchase of 15 satellite communication complexes and a link to the “Top Machines” store with Starlink. According to the publication, the complexes are “battle-tested”. The author of the text was the commander of one of the platoon of the URAL battalion with the call sign “ham” (probably Anton Aleksandrovich Anpilov (March 20, 1989, Social Security Number: 312824290360, VK, [email protected], +79192209696).

According to the video in TG from February 6, 2024, volunteers Kateryna Kornienko (12.05.1992, VK, OK, +79889964626 TG id: 1002349787) and Valentina Kornienko (07.07.1996, VK, +79185778057 TG id: 976486196, Valentina. [email protected]) demonstrated 5 boxes with Starlink branding (1, 2) among a shipment of military aid to Russian soldiers (probably 5 terminals). On February 20, 2024, they transferred 5 stations to the Luhansk direction. According to the video, Starlink was purchased for the needs of the Russian army long before information appeared in the media about the availability of terminals in the Russian Federation.

As of February 19, 2023, Yaroslav Mantsevich, a volunteer of the Russian battalion BARS-13, was collecting for a Starlink kit (Starlink Internet + Ethernet adapter Gen. 2, Res RV ROAM) at the request of a Russian soldier with the call sign “horchuha”. The amount of the fee was 163k rub.

Elon Musk, who owns Starlink, has recently shown an ambiguous position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, analyzing his public statements. Although in February 2022, he provided Starlink terminals for use by the defenders of our state. Subsequently, he limited their use for military purposes.

Based on the facts we have presented in this article, Starlinks are freely sold in Russia, and the Russians are actively buying them for use in the war, although they complain about unstable communication.

The information was taken from Molfar open sources

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