California: Elon Musk said Space Exploration Technologies Corp. will continue to fund its Starlink broadband service in Ukraine in an apparent step back from seeking support from the US Defense Department.
The shift comes a day after Musk confirmed on Twitter that the closely held company had told the Pentagon it couldn’t indefinitely fund the system that’s helped Ukraine combat against Russia’s war. The Defense Department confirmed Friday it was in talks with SpaceX while pointedly adding that the US is looking at other options.
“The hell with it,” Musk tweeted Saturday. “Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free.”
Withdrawing support of Starlink threatened a key means of communication used by Ukraine’s military forces in areas that don’t otherwise have cellular service.
Ukraine has 20,000 Starlink terminals that have been provided evenly by USAID, Poland, the European Union and private companies, according to an October 5 report from state-run news agency Ukrinform that cited Ministry of Digitalization data.
Poland 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.