Musk: SpaceX can no longer pay more for Starlink in Ukraine

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX has told the Pentagon that it can no longer afford to subsidize Ukraine’s use of its Starlink satellite internet service, according to CNN.

The network cited a series of documents sent to the Department of Defense last month, around the time that Ukrainian forces began reporting Starlink service outages in territories they were retaking from Russia. The cuts severely disrupted Ukraine’s advance, according to multiple reports.

The news underscores the cost of a high-profile gesture of support made by Musk at the start of the war in February, and sheds light on Musk’s recent controversial efforts to broker peace there by pushing for him to cede territory. Musk said last week that SpaceX will have spent $100 million subsidizing the use of Starlink by the end of the year.

Musk’s initiative had drawn the ire of Ukraine, with one of its ambassadors telling Musk via Twitter to “fuck off.”

“We are just following your recommendation,” Musk replied via the microblogging site on Friday.

Musk’s financial challenges are mounting after he succumbed to legal pressure from Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ) to complete its $44 billion acquisition of the social media company, a deal struck as the broader stock market – and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) shares – which Musk will have to sell to finance the purchase – were well above their current level.

“We are not in a position to donate any more terminals to Ukraine, nor to fund existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” CNN quoted SpaceX’s director of government sales as writing in a letter to the Pentagon in September.

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CNN said the letter also requested that the Pentagon take over funding for Ukraine’s government and military use of Starlink, arguing that it would cost more than $120 million in the remainder of the year and could cost as much as $400 million. dollars in the next 12 months. Documents cited by CNN showed that Ukrainian senior general Valerii Zaluzhniy had ordered another 8,000 Starlink terminals in July.

According to CNN, more than 80% of the Starlink terminals used by Ukraine in recent months have been financed by external parties, especially the Polish government and crowdfunding operations.

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