Four weeks ago, Stepan Veselovskyi didn’t think he’d be exchanging direct emails with Elon Musk. But now, the CEO of Lviv ІТ Cluster is preparing for the worst, as his city in western Ukraine braces itself for the war to arrive on its doorstep.
“I really was shocked when I got the email. It was really impressive that he did this by himself. Because he could easily just forward the email and ask his assistant to deal with it,” he tells Sifted.
The internet is still running well in Lviv, but Veselovskyi says it’s important to have a backup plan in case Russian forces get closer to his city and disrupt connectivity. That’s why he got in touch with Musk to arrange a delivery of Starlink internet terminals to his city. Starlink is an internet system developed by Musk’s SpaceX, which can provide connectivity in hard-to-reach places via low-orbit satellites.
Musk had already been delivering Starlink terminals to the Ukrainian government in Kyiv, after Mykhailo Fedorov, the Minister of Digital Transformation, tweeted him calling for support.
“A few company owners called me last week, and said, ‘Stepan, we’ve had really hard conversations with our clients, because they started implementing their business contingency plans and were going to cut business with us. And after we told them about your initiative with Starlink and Elon Musk preparing a backup internet in the region, it saved these clients for us,” he says.
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Come Back Alive is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.
There are several other organizations to support:
- Army SOS, which develops drones;
- Everybody Can, an organization that supports internally displaced people;
- Help on the Ministry of Defense website.