Starlink, Elon Musk's satellite internet company, has been providing free services to Ukraine since early this year. Now however, SpaceX says that it could no longer donate terminals or fund the existing terminals, asking the Pentagon to fund its services instead.
Starlink's satellite internet has been a vital source of communication for the Ukraine military which allowed it to stay connected even though the regular cellular towers were destroyed during Ukraine's ongoing war with Russia. Only a small percentage of Starlink's services was paid by Ukraine while the total operation has cost SpaceX $80 million already, which will exceed $100 million by the end of the year.
Elon Musk had recently took to Twitter, asking his followers to vote "yes" or "no" on his proposals whether to formally allow Russia to annex Crimea. Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk fired back at Musk on his poll with his own remarks.
Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) October 3, 2022
Replying on Starlink's discontinuation of free services, Elon Musk tweeted that he is "just following (the) recommendation" of the Ukrainian ambassador.
We’re just following his recommendation 🤷♂️— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 14, 2022
According to documents obtained by CNN, SpaceX's director of government sales wrote a letter to the Pentagon saying, "We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time."
Ukraine military's commanding general, General Valerii Zaluzhniy had also directly requested Musk in July for 8,000 more Starlink terminals as well.
“SpaceX faces terribly difficult decisions here. I do not think they have the financial ability to provide any additional terminals or service as requested by General”, an external consultant wrote.
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