European nations are debating whether to provide financial support to guarantee that Ukrainians continue to have access to crucial Starlink internet services, which are now funded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
The proposals, which are in the early stages, were revealed by the Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in a POLITICO interview on Monday.
The plan comes in response to Musk’s fears that his SpaceX rocket firm would not be able to continue funding Ukrainians’ access to Starlink internet services forever, amid rumors that he wanted the U.S. government to pick up the tab. The wealthiest man in the world, Musk, subsequently altered his mind and stated he would continue to support the service.
However, the panic prompted questions about the security of Ukraine’s continuous access to a major communications network that has been important in keeping the civilian population informed and in their counteroffensives against Russian forces in the seized territory.
In an interview with POLITICO, Landsbergis made the suggestion that the control of Ukraine’s internet access should not be placed in the hands of a single “super-powerful” person.
According to Landsbergis, such a person “might wake up one day and say, ‘This is no longer what I feel like doing and this is it,’ and the following day, Ukrainians may find themselves without the internet.”
I decided that it would probably be much better to have this as a contractual deal between, perhaps, a coalition of nations that could buy a service from Mr. Musk, the Starlink service, and deliver it to the Ukrainians and continue giving it to Ukrainians, the speaker added.
According to Landsbergis, the subject was brought up at the Monday meeting of the 27 EU foreign ministers. Josep Borrell, the head of the EU’s foreign policy, brought up the issue, “and several nations also joined in,” the minister stated without naming them. It’s much better if it occurs in the EU, he continued. “I don’t understand how not.”