Elon Musk’s company SpaceX sent a letter that made the Pentagon and Ukraine “unhappy”

28 29
30 31

 

Billionaire Elon Musk recently repeatedly made controversial statements about the conflict in Ukraine

According to CNN, SpaceX has provided about 20,000 Starlink internet terminals to Ukraine to keep Kiev stay connected even as cellular phone and internet networks have been des.troyed in its w.a.r.

Last week, the world’s richest billionaire Elon Musk – who is worth more than $ 200 billion – revealed that “the cost of maintaining satellite communications on the territory of Ukraine has cost SpaceX more than $ 80 million and will reach $ 120 million by the end of this year.”

According to documents obtained by CNN, SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon, saying that the company could not continue to provide the cost of maintaining the operation of the Starlink network in Ukraine. In the letter, SpaceX asked the U.S. Department of Defense to pay for the Ukrainian government and military to continue using the service.

SpaceX, which Musk founded, said the cost of maintaining the Starlink network in Ukraine in 2023 was estimated at $400 million. “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.

In another document, CNN found that General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander of Ukraine’s military, directly requested Musk to support about 7,000 more terminals to use the Starlink satellite communication service.

Ukrainian troops have been using the Starlink satellite communication network since this spring

In a letter to the Pentagon, a consultant working for SpaceX wrote: “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 Zaluzhniy.”

The troubles related to Starlink come as the Ukrainian military launches a counterat.tack against Russia in the south and east

According to sources familiar with the matter, the communication network via Starlink has been disrupted throughout the frontline area since September 30.

“That has affected every effort of the Ukrainians to push past that front,” the source told CNN. “Starlink is the main way units on the battlefield have to communicate.”

The source said that Ukrainian soldiers were unaware that they were sometimes unable to use the communication service. Currently, in areas where Ukraine has just been recaptured from Russia, the military must send a request to SpaceX to wait for the company to expand its coverage.

According to CNN, Elon Musk declined to respond to Ukraine’s allegations, arguing that communications were deliberately disrupted.

Ukrainian soldiers use the Starlink network to control drones

Musk recently made a number of comments that prompted Ukraine’s reaction, including suggesting Kiev abandon its recapture of Crimea, and calling for a re-referendum in the Donbass, Kherson, and Zaporizhia regions under UN supervision.

After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky questioned who Musk was on in the conflict, the BILLIONAIRE replied that he was “still very supportive of Ukraine” but feared a “major escalation.”

“Ukraine knows that the Starlink satellite communication service that the government and military are using depends entirely on one person. It’s Elon Musk,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity, according to CNN.

“Starlink is becoming increasingly important as Russia is actively targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure,” said Dimitri Alperovitch, co-founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a U.S.-based think ta.nk. “Without Starlink, the Ukrainian army would face many difficulties.”

According to the unnamed source, Pentagon leadership is expressing dissatisfaction with SpaceX. A U.S. defense official said SpaceX was “acting like a hero,” while in the background presented the Pentagon with a bill that cost tens of millions of dollars a month.

In fact, the U.S., Poland and many other private entities paid for the majority of the 20,000 terminals that Elon Musk’s company SpaceX supplied to Ukraine, the official said.

In a letter to Musk in July, Zaluzhnyi said Starlink terminals are widely supplied to soldiers on the front lines, but that about 500 devices a month are destroyed as a result of the conflict. Zaluzhnyi asked Musk to support an additional 6,200 devices and an additional 500 per month to cover the losses.

In response to the request, SpaceX said Zaluzhnyi should send the request to the U.S. Department of Defense.

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