Elon Musk is reversing course, saying SpaceX will continue to fund Ukraine’s Starlink service for free
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US billionaire Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that SpaceX will continue to fund the Starlink internet service in war-torn Ukraine, apparently reversing course after SpaceX asked the US military to foot the bill.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet services were a key communications source for the country’s military during the war with Russia, but as CNN exclusively reported earlier this week, SpaceX warned the Pentagon it could stop funding the service in Ukraine if the US military does not intervene tens of millions of dollars a month, according to documents obtained by CNN.
The letter also called on the Pentagon to provide funding for Ukraine’s government and military use of Starlink, which SpaceX said would cost more than $120 million for the remainder of the year and nearly $400 million over the next 12 months. could cost dollars. The report sparked a flurry of tweets from both social media users defend and criticized the move.
A tweet from Musk’s verified account posted Saturday read, “To hell with that…even though Starlink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions in taxpayer dollars, we’re just going to keep funding the Ukrainian government for free.”
Since they first arrived in Ukraine last spring, Starlink satellite internet terminals, made by Musk’s SpaceX, have enabled the Ukrainian military to fight and stay connected even as cell phones and internet networks have been destroyed in the war with Russia.
A Pentagon spokesman said Friday afternoon that it had communicated with SpaceX about funding for the Starlink satellite communications product, among other issues.
In reply on Saturday to a follower who replied to Musks tweet“No good deed goes unpunished,” Musk said, “but we should do good deeds.”
Musk doubled down on SpaceX’s request to the Pentagon in a series of tweets on Friday.
“SpaceX isn’t requiring to recoup past expenses, but neither can it fund the existing system indefinitely *and* broadcast several thousand more terminals that have up to 100 times the data usage of typical households. That’s unreasonable,” read one post from Musk’s verified account.
He also said that in asking the Pentagon to foot the bill for Starlink in Ukraine, he followed the advice of a Ukrainian diplomat who responded to Musk’s peace plan for Ukraine earlier this month, before the letter to the Pentagon was sent with: “Fuck off.”
Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, earlier this month responded to Musk’s claimed peace plan for Russia’s Ukraine war by saying, “F*** off is my very diplomatic response to you @elonmusk.”
SpaceX’s proposal to stop funding Starlink also came amid rising concerns in Ukraine over Musk’s loyalty. Musk recently tweeted a controversial peace plan that would see Ukraine relinquish Crimea and control of the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy raised the question of whose side Musk is on, he said answered that he “still has a lot of support[s] Ukraine” fears a “massive escalation”.
A Ukrainian official, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskyi, appeared to be holding out an olive branch in a tweet posted on Friday and wrote: “Let’s face it. Like it or not, @elonmusk has helped us get through the war’s most critical moments.”
“Economy has the right to its own strategies,” Podolyak’s tweet said. “(We) will find a solution to keep #Starlink going. We expect the company to provide a stable connection by the end of the negotiations.”
This story has been updated with additional information.