On Friday, October 14, 2022, the Pentagon said it received a letter from SpaceX regarding Starlink funding in Ukraine. Elon Musk warns that his company will not be able to finance an Internet service in Ukraine indefinitely.
Starlink cost Ukraine $100 million
According to the SpaceX boss, Starlink’s operations in Ukraine have already cost his company $80 million. This amount will even exceed the $100 million by the end of the year. In a series of tweets posted on Friday, he said SpaceX could not continue to fund the operating costs of the Starlink program in Ukraine on its own.
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Yet Starlink equipment played a crucial role in maintaining communications during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Indeed, in an article published in June 2022, Politico explained that each time the Ukrainian gunners hit a Russian target, they have a thought for Elon Musk. Thanks to Starlink satellites, the Ukrainian army was able to continue to ensure good quality communications. An essential element to repel the Russian forces.
In addition to getting it right, the Starlink network connection has also allowed the Ukrainian Armed Forces to stay connected with the world. Ukrainian soldiers, for example, learned that the Biden administration was going to send long-range rockets to fight against Russia. What to motivate the troops. Starlink’s Internet network has become a real lifeline for the country, both on the battlefield and in the war for public opinion.
Today, Elon Musk does not ask to recover the expenses incurred, but will also not be able to finance the existing system indefinitely and send several thousand additional terminals which have a very greedy data consumption “. In addition to the cost of the terminals, the boss of SpaceX specifies that his company had to create, launch, maintain and resupply satellites, ground stations and pay telecommunications companies.
A spat between Elon Musk and the Ukrainian leaders?
The subject of the aid provided by SpaceX in Ukraine has entered the public debate following a public spat between Elon Musk and Ukrainian officials on another subject. Last week, the SpaceX boss suggested on Twitter that Ukraine had ceded entire swathes of its territory as a concession to the invasion of Russia. A statement that caused an outcry among Ukrainian leaders, who said the billionaire echoed the Kremlin.
Elon Musk also said that the Crimean peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014 was now part of Russia. He, too, proposed to organize a referendum in the occupied regions of Ukraine to define to which country they should belong. Tweets that were welcomed in Moscow, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky clearly questioned the allegiances of Elon Musk.