Elon Musk Starlink Ukraine
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Elon Musk: SpaceX Footed $80 Million Bill To Support Ukraine With Starlink

Musk is attempting to refute claims that he embraced a pro-Kremlin attitude after making a contentious tweet regarding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, said his business paid millions of dollars to send Starlink user terminals to Ukraine to provide residents with Internet access while the Russian invasion was still going on. An official from the Ukrainian government claims that Musk’s SpaceX quickly sent the dishes to Ukraine after Russian troops decimated its communication infrastructure during the early stages of the conflict.

Musk responded to a report in the Washington Post claiming that the U.S. government was paying for Starlink shipments to the war-torn nation by stating that the majority of costs were instead borne by his company. This earned the executive some criticism from none other than the former head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.

Elon Musk is accused of backing Russia while the tide turns in favor of Ukraine

The newest development in the tale involving the millionaire inventor of electric vehicles came yesterday when he discussed his ideas for resolving the current war in Ukraine. Elon Musk posted a poll on his Twitter account asking his followers if they supported Russia annexing Crimea and the rest of the Ukrainian regions, Ukraine staying neutral, or all three options. Musk also questioned whether they supported the restart of water deliveries to the disputed area and an UN-monitored vote on the issue.

As a result, rumors that Musk was backing a Russian-backed referendum in the regions began to circulate. Even the president of Ukraine, Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky, joined the topic by conducting his own poll asking supporters whether they preferred a pro-Russian or a pro-Ukrainian Musk. Musk explained in response to the president that he supports Ukraine but is fearful of the carnage that may occur if the conflict experiences another escalation.

The well-known Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov also entered the conflict with the Ukrainian President, who has won the hearts of many in the West thanks to his many trips to the front lines and fervent appeals for help.

Elon Musk Ukraine
Elon Musk suggests Russia-Friendly proposal to end Ukraine-War

Musk’s survey was harshly criticized by Kasparov, who labeled it a “repetition of Kremlin propaganda” and said it was unaware of the deadly character of the Russian conflict. In response to the chess champion’s remarks, the Washington Post recently published an article outlining how the United States government paid for the Starlink terminal shipment to Ukraine.

The Post had stated that out of the remaining 5,000 terminals, Musk’s business had contributed 3,670 while the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had purchased 1,330 from SpaceX. According to papers obtained by
The Post, SpaceX had also donated limitless Internet bundles as part of the contribution for three months.

The government spent more than $3 million on the agreement as a whole, $800,000 of which went toward transportation expenses and $1,500 for each user dish.
In his response to the article, Elon Musk referred to it as a “hit piece” and indicated that the provision of assistance for Ukraine via Starlink had cost SpaceX $80 million.

The majority of people rejected Musk’s initial poll’s proposal, but he alleges that false votes made by bots have once again tampered with the results. Musk’s use of these bots has been central to his campaign to take over Twitter, has raised serious questions about Twitter’s ability to police its phony accounts, and has given him considerable bargaining power in his pursuit of one of the world’s major social media businesses.

Elon Musk offers a Russia-Friendly proposal to end Ukraine- Russia war

Elon Musk and Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine got into a Twitter spat after the tech magnate offered a contentious idea to halt Russia’s invasion.

The Tesla CEO stated in a tweet on Monday that in order to achieve peace, Russia should be allowed to maintain the Crimean Peninsula that it annexed in 2014. The Tesla CEO is about to face a legal battle over his effort to withdraw a $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter. In response to Russia’s partial activation of reservists, he said that Ukraine should take a neutral stance and abandon its application to join NATO.

Musk also crossed a line for Ukraine and those who support it by advocating that the United Nations conduct new elections in the four areas that Russia is attempting to annex after orchestrating phony “referendums” that were criticized by the West.

Elon Musk Ukraine President
Musk and Ukrainian President on a Zoom Call

Musk pointed out that Crimea was formerly a part of Russia before being transferred to Ukraine by the Soviet Union in the 1950s and predicted that a protracted conflict would not likely result in a decisive Ukrainian win.

Zelenskyy views Musk’s strategy as being pro-Russian

Zelenskyy thinks these ideas to be pro-Kremlin, which makes them abominable. The war’s spoils will all be recovered, and the Ukrainian president believes Crimea should be returned to Ukraine.

The question of whether “the will of the people” should determine whether captured territories stay in Ukraine or join Russia was also posed by Musk in a Twitter poll. Zelenskyy replied with sarcasm and created his own Twitter poll, asking, “Which Elon Musk do you appreciate more?” “One who favors Russia,” “One who supports Ukraine,” etc.

Zelenskyy received a response from Musk in which he said, “I still very much support Ukraine, but I am certain that huge escalation of the conflict would bring enormous damage to Ukraine and maybe the globe.”

The departing Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, replied to Musk’s first tweet with an expletive.

“Russia has just partially mobilized. In the event that Crimea is in danger, they mobilize for war fully. It will be horrible if both sides die “Musk said in a subsequent post. “Russia has (more than) three times the population of Ukraine, making a complete military triumph for Ukraine implausible. Seek peace if you care about the Ukrainian people.”

Kremlin applauds Musk’s suggestion

The Kremlin itself responded, complimenting Musk’s idea but admonishing that Russia would not renege on its plans to annex parts of Ukraine. According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, it is “quite encouraging that someone like Elon Musk is attempting to find a peaceful conclusion.” However, “as for the referendums, the people have spoken, and there could be nothing other.”

The hurriedly scheduled elections in four occupied districts, according to Ukraine and the West, were blatantly manipulated to support Putin’s agenda of trying to maintain his slipping hold on Ukrainian territory.

Despite criticism from Russian chess champion and anti-Putin political activist Garry Kasparov, Musk’s proposals on Twitter didn’t appear to get any traction.

Kasparov said on Twitter that spending time reading about Crimea on Wikipedia was morally reprehensible because it “puts a few minutes perusing Crimea on Wikipedia above the present horrible reality of Putin’s brutal conflict.”

Starlink Terminals Arrive in Ukraine
Starlink Terminals Arrive in Ukraine after being Invaded by Russia

Musk helped Ukraine during the early stages of the invasion in early March when his SpaceX business donated its Starlink satellite system, which helps provide internet connectivity to places that are underserved. Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to Musk for providing the tools that, in his words, would support keeping communications open in communities under assault.

Musk said in April that as a “free speech absolutist,” Starlink will not restrict Russian state media sources that promote propaganda and disinformation on the conflict in Ukraine. This statement was made in reference to Starlink’s coverage of the conflict.

With Inputs from WCCFTECH & NPR

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Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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