Starlink Outage in Ukrainian War with Russia: Where Are We Going? Why Did SpaceX and the Pentagon Tell Us? Why Ukraine’s Ambassador to the Pentagon has reportedly contacted SpaceX
The Starlink satellite internet terminal made by Musk’s SpaceX has allowed the Ukrainian military to fight and stay connected even while their cellular phone and internet networks were destroyed in its war with Russia.
But those charitable contributions could be coming to an end, as SpaceX has warned the Pentagon that it may stop funding the service in Ukraine unless the US military kicks in tens of millions of dollars per month.
SpaceX declined repeated requests for comment on both the outages and their recent request to the Pentagon. A lawyer for Musk did not reply to the request. Bob Ditchey is a spokesman for the Department of Defense, and he told CNN that they are working with industry to look at ways to repel Russia. We don’t have anything else to add at the moment.
There was no warning to Ukrainian forces, a second person said, adding that now when Ukraine liberates an area a request has to be made for Starlink services to be turned on.
The Financial Times first reported the outages which resulted in a “catastrophic” loss of communication, a senior Ukrainian official said. In a tweet responding to the article, Musk didn’t dispute the outage, saying that what is happening on the battlefield is classified.
Reaction was swift. Zelensky had asked his followers if they preferred Musk who supports Ukraine or the one who supports Russia. More to the point, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany responded, “F**k off…@elonmusk”
A press conference at the Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas was held by Musk.
A senior defense official told reporters before Musk that the Pentagon didn’t pay for Starlink in Ukraine.
A lot of the 20,000 terminals in Ukrainian were paid by countries like the US and Poland according to figures shared with the Pentagon by the company. Those entities also paid for about 30% of the internet connectivity, which SpaceX says costs $4,500 each month per unit for the most advanced service. (Over the weekend, Musk tweeted there are around 25,000 terminals in Ukraine.)
Early US support for Starlink came via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which according to the Washington Post spent roughly $3 million on hardware and services in Ukraine. The largest single contributor of terminals, according to the newly obtained documents, is Poland with payment for almost 9,000 individual terminals.
SpaceX Cannot Fund the Starlink Satellite Communication Product Unless It is Required by the U.S. Senate Armed Intelligence Commission [Invited Report]
Musk is the biggest shareholder of the privately-held SpaceX. In May, SpaceX disclosed that its valuation had risen to $127 billion and it has raised $2 billion this year, CNBC reported.
At an exclusive conference in Aspen, Colorado called “The Weekend”, Musk told a room full of attendees thatUkraine should seek peace now because they have had recent victories.
This is the time to do it. They don’t want to do it, that’s for sure. He told the person in the room that it was the time to do it. “Everyone wants to seek peace when they’re losing but they don’t want to seek peace when they’re winning. For now.”
A Pentagon spokesperson said Friday afternoon that it had been in communication with SpaceX about the funding of the Starlink satellite communication product as well as other topics.
“SpaceX is not asking to recoup past expenses, but also cannot fund the existing system indefinitely and send several thousand more terminals that have data usage up to 100X greater than typical households. This is unreasonable,” read one post from Musk’s verified account.
He said that before he sent a letter to the Pentagon asking for it to pick up the Starlink bill, he was told by a Ukrainian diplomat that it was against the law to do so.
One Ukrainian official, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, appeared to extend an olive branch in a tweet posted Friday, writing, “Let’s be honest. elonmusk helped us survive the most critical moments of war.
Moscow’s internet connection crisis in light of Musk’s comments on Russian Prime Minister Likudovic-Bogoliubov’s proposal
Business has the right to make their own decisions, said Podolyak. We will find a solution to keep the service going. We think the company will give stable connection until the end of the negotiations.
Musk frequently tweets jokes and insults and sometimes goes on unusual tangents, such as a recent series of tweets suggesting that one of his companies has begun selling its own line of fragrances. It is not clear if the future plans for service inUkraine were established by SpaceX.
The issue of Starlink funding has been debated in meetings, and senior leaders are weighing it, according to the senior U.S. officials. There have been no decisions made.
Musk stated on Monday afternoon that the funding request the company had made to the Pentagon had been withdrawn.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said Saturday that “Ukraine’s internet connectivity is too important to be left in the hands of one private individual.”
On Monday he continued to push his proposal, saying: “If Russia is faced with the choice of losing Crimea or using battlefield nukes, they will choose the latter.”
On the CNN World Affairs Debate: Elon Musk, the Russian-Ukraine War, and China’s Tensions with Beijing
A former CNN producer and correspondent, Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist. She writes for several publications, including The Washington Post and World Politics Review. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. There are more opinions on CNN.
If Musk’s actions didn’t have such a big impact, then we could enjoy the show. Since he likes to weigh in on significant matters, the rest of the world must wonder whom he is siding with. What are the moral,ethical, financial principles that motivate him to do what he does?
There is no indication in Musk’s huge set of business accomplishments that he has the know-how to wade into the world’s most dangerous conflicts. But that hasn’t stopped him. Musk has been expounding on the Russia-Ukraine war and on Taiwan’s tensions with Beijing with the self-confidence of someone who knows what he’s talking about.
Never mind that his proposals won the support of dictators. Some extremely wealthy men like Musk may believe that they are genius at everything. He combines the arrogance of wealth with the thirst for attention of an insecure soul.
Russian sovereignty, UN annexation and Russia: Musk and Putin on the campaign of the Kremlin and the Eurasia Group
It suggested that Ukraine (and one assumes the world) accept Russian sovereignty over Crimea, that another referendum be held in Russia-annexed Ukrainian lands, this time under UN supervision (and despite Russian military occupation!), among other ideas.
Russia was very fond of the plan. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov praised Musk, adding that “achieving peace without fulfilling Russia’s conditions is absolutely impossible.” He confirmed that the plan fulfilled Russia’s conditions.
There was another twist to the huge controversy surrounding the tweet. After US political scientist Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group said Musk told him he spoke to Russian President Vladmir Putin before that tweet, Musk denied it.
But the most telling analysis of the relationship between Musk and Putin – those two paragons of excessive self-confidence – came from Fiona Hill, once the top Russia hand in the US National Security Council.
“Putin,” she told Politico, “plays the egos of big men, gives them a sense that they can play a role. They’re just the direct transmitters of Putin’s messages.
Putin is a former agent of the KGB who knows how to read people. It’s no secret that some images of Putin with world leaders like to use his craft with them. For instance, bringing his black Labrador to a meeting with the German Chancellor in 2016 which was reportedly fearful of dogs is an indelible image.
What is in it for Musk? Resolving Taiwan-Tiwan hostilities with a billionaire, and suing the SEC for a dogecoin
What’s in it for Musk? The man who put many thousands of people in electric cars, who turned space flight into a for-profit business, is now trying out a different vehicle. This is an ego trip.
In an interview with the Financial Times, he unveiled his proposal for resolving hostilities between Beijing and Taipei. Musk suggested that Taiwan could have a more relaxed arrangement than Hong Kong. China promised it would have one country, two system for Hong Kong but it broke its word and ended Hong Kongs freedom.
As Russia before it, China was quick with praise and thanks for the billionaire. Taiwan’s Washington envoy had a scathing reply, tweeting: “Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale.”
Musk’s impulsiveness and U-turns are familiar. He decided to buy a social media site, then changed his mind, and only then did he change his mind again.
The report provoked a lot of criticism. Two days later, Musk backtracked, with the dismissive attitude of someone who makes decisions on the fly. He said that they will just keep funding it for free.
Musk struck a humanitarian pose and said, “We should still do good deed even though no good deed goes unpunished.”
While he may act like a mischievous teenager, he likes to think about the bigger issues of the day. Some of his business ideas and their execution deserve the highest praise.
He likes to cause disasters, sometimes with hilarious results. He’s being sued on claims that he touted the all-but-worthless dogecoin as part of a pyramid scheme. (Musk says he still supports it.) He has previously been reprimanded by the Securities and Exchange Commission over market-manipulating. Musk and the SEC settled on fraud charges, agreeing on penalties.
He claimed he wanted to buy Twitter and put former President Donald Trump back on the platform because he’s a “free speech absolutist.” Free speech in the fast- changing age of social media is one topic where experts think he lacks a serious understanding of the issues that a major platform has to contend with.
What have we learned about Ukraine from the past few weeks? (The case of Starlink, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States)
It is not acceptable that Ukraine is dependent on a system that is unpredictable. The role of tech companies—already infamously unaccountable—in such vital causes is far too great here, and the world does not need any more tech barons falling in love with their “one weird trick” to end global crises. It is time to consider the re-nationalization of vital infrastructure if only to shield them from the type of silliness that catches executives off guard on social media.
Understanding what’s happened over the past few weeks requires a bit of a detailed timeline—though it’s worth noting that the dates on which events were reported are not necessarily when they happened.
On October 7, it was reported that Starlink terminals were experiencing problems all along the front line of the Ukrainian advance against Russian forces.
There is a chance of a battle between the Russians and the Ukrainians in the city of Kherson. Kremlin-installed officials have been evacuating civilians in preparation for a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Russia will be watching the results of this week’s elections in America, after Republicans warned that they might limit funding for the country if it wins a controlling House of Representatives.
Turkish President will host Swedish Prime Minister on Tuesday. Before it can join NATO, Sweden has to meet certain conditions.
The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday is scheduled to discuss an International Atomic Energy Agency report, in which Ukraine is expected to be on the agenda.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of “energy terrorism,” as attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure left more than 4 million Ukrainians without electricity.
Russia rejoined a deal to export grain and other agricultural goods from Ukraine on November 2. Moscow had suspended its part in the deal a few days prior after saying Ukraine had launched a drone attack on its Black Sea ships.
The Pentagon announced $400 million in additional security aid to Ukraine, on Nov. 4, to include 45 refurbished T-72 tanks, 1,100 Phoenix Ghost drones and other vehicles, technology and training.
Iran acknowledged for the first time that it provided some drones to Russia, but denied continuing to supply them. Zelenskyy countered that Iran was “lying” because Ukrainian forces “shoot down at least 10 Iranian drones every day.”
You can read past recaps here. You can find more of NPR’s coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.
Ukrainian troops satellite technology: What do we need to do to stop it? Gwynne Shotwell told a space conference on Wednesday
“There are things that we can do to limit their ability to do that,” Gwynne Shotwell told reporters on Wednesday, referencing reports on Starlink and drone use. There are things that can be done.
The company did not know how creative Ukrainian forces would be with the technology, and it was never meant to be used in this way.
“It was never intended to be weaponized,” Shotwell told an audience at a space conference. “However, Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement.”
“I was the one that asked the Pentagon to fund, this was not an Elon thing,” Shotwell said on Wednesday. The Pentagon’s existing capabilities were stopped by us. They are not paying.
The Starlink Project: What’s Happening in the Starlink Space-Time, When Did We Think About It? Is It Happened to Happen to Me?
“Honestly,” she said, “I don’t even think we thought about it. You know, it could be used that way? We didn’t think about it. I didn’t think about it. Our Starlink team may have, I don’t know. But we’ve learned pretty quickly.”