Elon Musk says he fears he will no longer be able to finance the Starlink internet network in Ukraine. According to the American entrepreneur, at the head of SpaceX, the company no longer has the means to continue financing the Starlink internet network in the country at war, he assured on Friday 14. October. The space company “cannot continue to fund the existing system indefinitely and send thousands of additional terminals (…). This is not fair”he tweeted.
Since the start of the Russian offensive in late February, SpaceX has delivered about 25,000 terminals to Ukraine, which provide an Internet connection through a constellation of satellites that make up the Starlink network. According to the contractor, the operation has already cost 80 million dollars, and the bill should reach 100 million by the end of the year.
According to CNN, this statement is a pedestrian for the US Department of Defense, which the company asks to take over the financing of the use of Starlink by the Ukrainian government and its army, the cost of which was estimated at 400 million dollars for the next 12 months. Last month, SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon to tell it that it could no longer afford the cost of the service in Ukraine, the chain continues.
The Starlink network has helped maintain internet coverage in areas of Ukraine affected by the Russian military. By June, about 15% of Ukraine’s existing Internet infrastructure had been destroyed or damaged, authorities said. Ukrainian telecommunications operators have also been hit by several cyber attacks.“Starlink is the only communication system that continues to work on the front, all the others are dead”tweeted Elon Musk. “Russia is actively trying to kill Starlink”, he added. The billionaire warned that despite earmarked resources to defend Starlink, the system “could well disappear”.
According to the British daily newspaper Financial Timesthe Ukrainian forces may have suffered cuts in Starlink service at the front, which would have hampered their counteroffensive before the situation improved.
“To our knowledge, SpaceX has not interrupted its service to Ukraine’s civilian government agencies and critical infrastructure operators,” said a spokesman for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Friday evening. He said the agency had bought more than 1 500 terminals for SpaceX to deliver them to Ukraine, then 86 new terminals in July for the authorities of the Lviv region.