Espreso. Global

Musk's Starlink shutdown extended to Donbas without Ukraine's knowledge, says biographer

14 September, 2023 Thursday
12:49

The American billionaire Elon Musk deactivated Starlink not only in Crimea but also in Donbas, reportedly with the intention of preventing the Ukrainian Armed Forces from using the technology during the counteroffensive

This is stated in Musk's biography, written by writer Walter Isaacson.

According to him, the businessman did not inform Ukraine that Starlink was turned off in Crimea.

"Musk also decides not to enable it (the Starlink - ed.) in parts of eastern Ukraine, because he doesn't want it to be used for offensive purposes," Isaacson said.

"When I grilled Musk on that, he said, ‘Well, if you read the terms of service, it was only supposed to be used for defensive purposes,’” the biographer said.

According to Isaacson, Ukraine is liberating its settlements, so this can be called defense. But Musk did not think so. According to the billionaire, if he allowed Ukraine to use the technology, it would lead to a "nuclear explosion."

"It wasn't just that he refused to enable it, but the Ukrainians didn't even know that it had been — and Europe, you know, all this intelligence stuff," Isaacson said.

Background 

Writer Walter Isaacson wrote about the Starlink shutdown in his biography of Elon Musk. According to him, the businessman was afraid that the Armed Forces of Ukraine would use the technology to strike at the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Musk, in turn, said that he did not disconnect Starlink in Crimea, but rejected Ukraine's request to reconnect it.

"SpaceX did not deactivate anything. 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," the businessman explained.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, called Musk's actions a mixture of ignorance and a big ego, which resulted in numerous human casualties.

The U.S. Senate calls for an investigation into U.S. billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX company after he admitted that he blocked Ukraine's Starlink satellite Internet service in the occupied Crimea.

It is worth noting that this is not the first scandal involving Musk. Last year, his SpaceX company informed the Pentagon that it refused to finance Starlink satellite communications services in Ukraine. Eventually, the US took over the costs.

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