Elon Musk announced on Saturday that his company would continue to pay for Starlink satellite internet in Ukraine.
A day later it was suggested that he could not keep the funds for the project, which he said was losing about $20 million per month.
The world’s richest man wrote on Twitter: “While Starlink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions of taxpayer dollars, we will continue to finance the Ukrainian government for free.
Musk said Friday that he considers it unfair that SpaceX was not subsidized by the US military to operate Starlink in Ukraine, even as the company’s rivals such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing provide the resources.
After CNN published a memo sent from SpaceX to the Pentagon, the US military confirmed it was in communication with the billionaire’s company about funding for a satellite Internet network.
We are not in a position to donate more terminals to Ukraine or to fund existing terminals indefinitely, SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote in a letter seen by the network.
Musk’s tweets came after a growing number of public disputes with Ukrainian leaders, who were angered by his suggestions that the country pursues peace by accepting Russian sovereignty over Crimea.
Accepts a series of referendums allowing Russia to annex the region, and is committed to “neutrality”. In response to a sympathetic tweet from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, Elon Musk said, “I’m doing my best to defuse this situation and have clearly failed.
In response to his suggestion of surrender, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andrzej Melnik, told Musk, “Nonsense is my very diplomatic answer, the only consequence is that now no Ukrainian will ever buy Tesla crap.”
But while Musk jokingly suggested that his request for subsidies was in response to Melnick’s message, we’re following his recommendation, tweeting that the letters to the Pentagon were sent in September.
A group of more than 3,000 small satellites in low-Earth orbit, Starlink has been vital to Ukraine’s communications as it fights against an invasion of Russia.
I admire SpaceX’s work in enabling Starlink service in Ukraine. This is a real game changer for the Ukrainian army in open fields without cellular, and is not suitable for long-range radio, given that the situation on the battlefield is changing rapidly.
Written by Dimko Zluktenko, founder of Ukrainian military charity Dziga’s Pav. Despite this, I haven’t seen any Starlink that has been bought by governments or SpaceX. All the Starlinks I’ve seen/used are either bought by volunteers like me.
Soldiers put their personal money. Membership prices are also paid out of pocket. Ukrainian activist Melania Podolik said thousands of Ukrainians were making monthly payments to Musk’s company in their bank accounts, with Starlink paying more than £6,000.