Returning to Twitter on Saturday, Musk offered no replace about these talks with the Protection Division — and neither the tech mogul nor the federal government responded to requests for remark. However Musk, the world’s richest man, newly struck an open if sarcastic word about sustaining Starlink funding anyway.
“The hell with it … though Starlink continues to be shedding cash & different firms are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll simply hold funding Ukraine govt free,” he tweeted.
When a Silicon Valley investor later responded by citing the aphorism that “no good deed goes unpunished,” Musk tweeted in reply: “Even so, we should always nonetheless do good deeds.”
The trade marked the most recent twist in a complicated geopolitical saga that has performed out over Twitter, the very firm that Musk as soon as once more hopes to purchase. For Ukraine, the stakes are staggeringly excessive: The satellite tv for pc service provided by Starlink is now a major mode of on-line communication within the nation, a consequence of Russia’s sustained assault on Ukraine’s on-line infrastructure. A satellite tv for pc cutoff may cripple Ukraine’s army and hand a significant benefit to the Kremlin.
Musk, for his half, has more and more waded into the battle in public methods. Earlier this month, the billionaire put ahead what he described as a peace plan that critics noticed as closely favorable to Russia, drawing the ire of Ukrainian political leaders, together with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Andrij Melnyk, the nation’s ambassador to Germany, later responded to Musk’s proposal in additional express phrases: “F— off is my very diplomatic reply to you,” he tweeted.
With tensions excessive, Musk then tweeted Friday his issues in regards to the value of offering Starlink service. He beforehand stated that it had price SpaceX about $80 million up to now to beam satellite tv for pc web to the war-torn nation, an quantity that might rise to $100 million by the tip of the yr as the corporate expands its footprint and secures its infrastructure towards additional Russian incursions.
In doing so, Musk additionally snapped again — once more, over social media — at Melnyk: “We’re simply following his advice,” he tweeted.
Behind the scenes, Protection Division officers stated they have been in energetic talks with Musk
about sustaining the system. Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, additionally advised reporters that the U.S. authorities had different choices within the occasion of a disruption.
The Biden administration has performed an unclear position in orchestrating the association, as paperwork beforehand obtained by The Washington Publish counsel one other a part of the federal government — the U.S. Company for Worldwide Improvement, or USAID — might have helped pay for a number of the Starlink terminals deployed in Ukraine.
In Ukraine, in the meantime, an adviser to Zelensky stated Friday that Starlink had “helped us survive essentially the most essential moments of warfare.” The aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, added Ukraine would “discover a resolution to maintain Starlink working,” although the federal government expects Starlink “will present steady connection until the tip of negotiations.”
Isabelle Khurshudyan, Kostiantyn Khudov, Dan Lamothe and Ellen Francis contributed to this report.