Musk: "To Hell With It... We'll Just Keep Funding Ukraine Govt For Free"

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Oct 15, 2022 - 01:55 PM

Update: just after 2pm ET, Elon Musk said he will continue to fund Starlink satellites in Ukraine “for free” after a recent standoff with the US Department of Defense over the cost of their deployment. The world's richest man tweeted "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." It wasn't clear if he was sincere or sarcastic, but it appears that the blowback to his earlier course of action may have gotten to the billionare.

He followed up with a later tweet to a follower saying, “Even so, we should still do good deeds.”

The shift comes a day after Musk threatened to cut financial support for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine, having claimed that the operation had cost his company $80 million so far. The Pentagon had responded by confirming it’s in talks with SpaceX, while adding that the US is looking at other options.

Shutting down Starlink terminals would deny Ukraine a key means of communication in the fight against Russia: in addition to helping Ukraine’s forces on the ground, the terminals have supported infrastructure across the country. Ukraine has 20,000 Starlink terminals, provided evenly by USAID, Poland, the European Union and private companies, according to an Oct. 5 report from state-run news agency Ukrinform that cited Ministry of Digitalization data.

Earlier Musk stated that the amount SpaceX was requesting to give Ukraine a “major battlefield advantage” is less than the cost of one new GPS satellite.

Musk's reversal prompted some several angry responses from prominent liberals such as Kim Dotcom, who said that "in other words", Musk "will continue your support for the US proxy war in Ukraine despite your better knowledge that this is a US proxy war and the risk of a nuclear war because of the US proxy war? And we are supposed to believe that you will fix @twitter? How utterly disappointing."

This then led the following back and forth.


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Elon Musk went on another tweet spree overnight. Musk has given a communication lifeline to the Ukrainian military with the Starlink internet service operated by his rocket company, SpaceX. Musk appears to be increasingly frustrated with Ukraine after donating more than 20,000 satellite terminals and footing much of the bill, which is expected to cost $100 million by the end of the year and could exceed hundreds of millions of dollars in the next 12 months. 

Musk recently tweeted about a proposed controversial peace deal to avert nuclear armageddon, though he received tremendous flak from Ukrainian officials and 'blue check' warriors on Twitter. 

SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon last month, asking for funds to maintain the service in Ukraine because it's draining resources from Starlink. The billionaire said his company's goal is "not to go bankrupt." 

He tweeted Friday night, "Starlink is the primary communications system of the Ukrainian army on the war front" and even said: "If anyone else wants this job, please be my guest …" 

In light of Musk's growing anger, perhaps it wasn't the right move for Ukrainian officials to bash the billionaire on social media for proposing a peace deal since he is providing free communications for the soldiers on the ground. 

Musk also didn't sound too optimistic about the longevity of the service because "Russia is actively trying to kill Starlink. To safeguard, SpaceX has diverted massive resources towards defense," adding: "Even so, Starlink may still die." 

Musk, referring to the letter that was leaked to CNN, said

Strange that nothing was leaked about our competitors in space launch & communications, Lockheed & Boeing, who get over $60B … Wouldn't be surprised to find this particular individual working there when he retires from DoD. Corruption at its finest.

"Internet fiber, phone lines, cell towers & other space-based comms in war areas have been destroyed ... Starlink is all that's left. For now," Musk continued. 

The talk about SpaceX asking for DoD funds made it to the White House press briefing earlier on Friday. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters the Biden administration has considered SpaceX's request. 

"Look, we understand the importance of these capabilities to ensure stable communications for Ukraine's forces in particular," Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre pointed to the Pentagon for additional questions about SpaceX. 

Then there was confirmation by Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh, who said, "the department has been in communication with SpaceX regarding Starlink." However, she declined to provide further details. 

Singh said DoD understands the "fragility" of the satellite internet service and the importance of "not just on the battlefield, but within the country itself." 

One would assume it's in the interest of the DoD to pick up the tab because it appears the free trial is over. 

Russian Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov commented on the situation and said a Ukraine without Starlink "is going to be a massive blow to the country's defense capabilities ... mainly because the service is used for "targeting" Russian assets. 

Dzhabarov said SpaceX is a "private company after all, and although it did everything [provided free Starlink services to Ukraine] at the request of the Pentagon, it couldn't go on like this forever."