Founder of SapceX says although Starlink is losing money, he will ‘just keep funding Ukraine gov’t for free’ a day after suggesting he cannot.
Elon Musk announced his company will continue to pay for Starlink satellite internet in war-torn Ukraine a day after suggesting he cannot keep funding the project.
“The hell with it,” the world’s richest man wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free.”
Musk said on Friday that SpaceX would not be able to pay for Starlink in Ukraine indefinitely. And the US military confirmed it was communicating with the billionaire’s company about funding for the key network.
The discussions come as Musk has been embroiled in public spats with Ukrainian leaders who were angered by his controversial proposals for de-escalating the conflict.
While Ukraine has long maintained it will never agree to relinquish land taken by force, Musk suggested that it permanently cede the Crimea region to Russia, that new referendums be held under United Nations auspices to determine the fate of Russian-controlled territory, and that Ukraine agree to neutrality.
The hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 15, 2022
Starlink, a constellation of more than 3,000 small satellites in low Earth orbit, has been vital to Ukraine’s communications as it fights against Russia’s invasion.
Musk activated Starlink in late February after Ukraine’s internet services were disrupted because of Russia’s invasion. Its internet terminals have since been crucial in keeping the Ukrainian military online.
SpaceX has donated some 25,000 ground terminals to Ukraine, according to an updated figure given by Musk last week.
The disruption of the service may have dire consequences for Ukraine. Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said this week Starlink services helped restore energy and communications infrastructure in critical areas after more than 100 Russian cruise missile attacks.
Encrypted satellite messages have been used for military communications after the local mobile phone network was severed during heavy shelling.