Elon Musk has said he will continue to fund Starlink satellites in Ukraine after a recent confrontation with the US Department of Defense over the cost of deploying them.
The change comes a day after Musk threatened to cut financial support for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine, after claiming the operation had cost his company $80 million so far. The Pentagon had responded by confirming that it was in talks with SpaceX, while adding that the United States was considering other options.
“To hell with that,” Musk tweeted on Saturday. “Even if Starlink continues to lose money and other companies receive billions of taxpayer dollars, we will continue to fund the Ukrainian government for free.”
He followed up with a subsequent tweet to a follower saying, “Even so, we should still do good deeds.”
Starlink is a key tool in the Ukrainian war
Removing Starlink terminals would deprive Ukraine of a key means of communication in the fight against the Russian invasion. In addition to assisting Ukrainian forces on the ground, the terminals supported infrastructure across the country.
Ukraine has 20,000 Starlink terminals, supplied equally by USAID, Poland, the European Union and private companies, according to an October 5 report by the state-run Ukrinform news agency that cites data from the Ministry of Digitization.
Poland has purchased 11,700 Starlink terminals for Ukraine, including 5,000 acquired by state-controlled refiner PKN Orlen SA, according to Janusz Cieszynski, the government official in charge of cybersecurity.
Earlier, Musk said the amount SpaceX is asking to give Ukraine a “major battlefield advantage” is less than the cost of a new GPS satellite.
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