Musk responds following Starlink Ukraine switch off reports

Musk responds following Starlink Ukraine switch off reports


A Ukrainian official has slammed Elon Musk after claims emerged that the SpaceX owner ordered engineers to switch off Starlink satellites near Crimea to prevent a Ukrainian offensive on Russia.

According to a new biography by Walter Isaacson, Musk allegedly asked “How am I in this war?” before he discreetly ordered engineers to turn off satellite communications.

As Ukrainian submarine drones strapped with explosives approached a Russian fleet, they apparently “lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly” according to Isaacson.

Isaacson also wrote that the decision for Musk to withdraw services to Ukraine was discussed in a phone call with President Joe Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan and Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff for the US Army.

On Musk’s X platform (formerly known as Twitter), Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said: "Sometimes a mistake is much more than a mistake. By not allowing Ukrainian drones to destroy part of the Russian military fleet via Starlink interference, Elon Musk allowed this fleet to fire Kalibr missiles at Ukrainian cities.

“As a result, civilians, children are being killed. This is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and big ego.”

Musk has since responded to the claims on X after the story was picked up by several outlets over the past 24 hours.

He wrote: “There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol.

“The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor. If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

He then added: “The Starlink regions in question were not activated. SpaceX did not deactivate anything.”

SpaceX has spent millions of its own money sending satellite equipment to Ukraine, according to Musk.

The company also told the Pentagon that they wouldn’t continue to pay for the equipment according to a CNN report from last October.

Capacity reported early last month that Starlink services were cut off by Musk during a planned drone strike.

Before that, Kyiv had previously been keen to praise Musk with Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister for digital transformation thanking him for supplying 500 Tesla power walls and over 40,000 Starlink kits to Ukraine since February 2022.

“Starlink is indeed the blood of our entire communication infrastructure now,” Fedorov told the New York Times as part of a report on Starlink’s contribution to the war effort.

The news follows reports that the SpaceX owner has had several conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the invasion of Ukraine, claims which have been denied by Musk.

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