Elon Musk Tells Ukraine to Pay for Starlink after Ukrainian Official Told Him to ‘F*ck Off’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said his SpaceX can no longer continue funding Ukraine’s free internet service via his Starlink satellite network after a top Ukrainian official publicly told him to “f*ck off.”

Ukrainian official Andrij Melnyk made the insulting remark after Musk made a proposal for peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Musk has now informed the Pentagon that SpaceX can no longer afford to fund Starlink service or donate terminals to Ukraine.

The company has been providing vital communications services to the besieged country for seven months now.

Beginning shortly after Russia first invaded Ukraine in February, SpaceX has been providing Starlink terminals to bolster Ukraine’s communications.

The move came in light of the widespread destruction of critical infrastructure.

In response, many Ukrainian officials, including the country’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov, have praised Musk and Starlink for their support.

Now, it appears that SpaceX’s apparent goodwill towards Ukraine is in jeopardy.

According to a report by CNN, which was later confirmed by Musk on Twitter, SpaceX will no longer fund Starlink service throughout Ukraine due to the immense costs of keeping the service operational.

Musk said: “SpaceX is not asking to recoup past expenses, but also cannot fund the existing system indefinitely *and* send several thousand more terminals that have data usage up to 100X greater than typical households.

“This is unreasonable.”

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Sawyer Merritt said:

“SpaceX’s request is reasonable.

“Shouldn’t expect a private sec co. to continue to fund this for free forever.

“Do Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop, etc do their work for free?

“SpaceX was generous in donating what they did & they’ll happily cont. to mfg terminals with gov money.”

“Hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine are using Starlink because of @elonmusk SpaceX, the US, Poland and many others who worked together.

“There are now over 25,000 terminals in Ukraine.

“By year end, @SpaceX’s donations will have costed them upwards of $120M.”

“Starlink has been absolutely essential because the Russians have targeted the Ukrainian communications infrastructure,” said Dimitri Alperovitch, co-founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a think tank.

“Without that they’d be really operating in the blind in many cases.”

Jason Jay Smart said: “Elon Musk’s Starlink says it can no longer afford to give Ukraine free service and asks the Pentagon to pay for it.

“Starlink had been a game changer in the war.

“This comes days after Ukrainian Ambassador  @MelnykAndrij  told Musk to “f*ck off.”

Musk responded:

“We’re just following his recommendation.”

From CNN:

Since they first started arriving in Ukraine last spring, the Starlink satellite internet terminals made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX have been a vital source of communication for Ukraine’s military, allowing it to fight and stay connected even as cellular phone and internet networks have been destroyed in its war with Russia.

So far roughly 20,000 Starlink satellite units have been donated to Ukraine, with Musk tweeting on Friday the “operation has cost SpaceX $80 million and will exceed $100 million by the end of the year.”

But those charitable contributions could be coming to an end, as SpaceX has warned the Pentagon that it may stop funding the service in Ukraine unless the US military kicks in tens of millions of dollars per month.

Documents obtained by CNN show that last month Musk’s SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon saying it can no longer continue to fund the Starlink service as it has.

The letter also requested that the Pentagon take over funding for Ukraine’s government and military use of Starlink, which SpaceX claims would cost more than $120 million for the rest of the year and could cost close to $400 million for the next 12 months.

“We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote to the Pentagon in the September letter.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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