Since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukrainians have traded recipes for making Molotov cocktails and instructions for driving abandoned troop carriers.

They used encrypted apps to coordinate their tactics and call on Russians to stand up to their government, which in turn staged protests in Moscow and other cities.

Although it may end up losing on the battlefield, Ukraine was able to show the world the brutality and madness of the Russian attack, which is only possible because ordinary citizens continue to have access to internet.

But maybe not for long: Internet blackouts are increasingly common in areas where the fighting is heaviest, and with information powerful on the battlefield, there is a risk that Russia finds a way to take the country completely offline.

For this reason, the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation tweeted a request to Elon Musk: "We ask you to equip Ukraine with Starlink stations and call on sensible Russians to stand up".

"Starlink service is now active in Ukraine." Musk tweeted later in the day, breaking up a regulatory process that could take months or years at less than 280 characters.

Starlink, which has been operating since 2021, is a global satellite internet provider owned by Musk's SpaceX company that aims to provide low-latency, high-speed internet in less densely populated areas that may lack fast, reliable internet.

The first obstacle is that Ukrainians cannot easily connect directly to Starlink satellites: first, they need ground terminals.

"...terminals on the way," Musk finished his tweet, and less than 48 hours later Fedorov replied with a photo showing a truckload of them in Ukraine: "Starlink - here. Thanks @elonmusk.

These terminals must be brought to besieged cities and connected to Wi-Fi so that Ukrainians can connect their devices. It's a challenge in the middle of a war.

And when endpoints lose power, they need batteries or generators to stay online.

Radio signals could also be triangulated, and Musk also warned that terminals could be attacked by Russian forces, warning users to keep terminals "as far away from people as possible".

But if the terminals can be installed and maintained, Starlink could provide a digital lifeline for some Ukrainians.

Detaching the online world from geography and removing it from government control is the initial promise of the Internet.

"The dream of the internet was one of complete deterritorialization," says Eli Dourado, senior fellow at Utah State University's Center for Growth and Opportunity. “The internet should mean that it doesn't matter where you live. You are connected to all of humanity through this totally transparent network where geography plays no role. We have seen how far we are from it. We have seen some governments censor the internet. I think a great outcome for the Internet would have been if we could have exported the First Amendment across the planet.