Elon Musk’s petty response after threatening to AXE Starlink for Ukraine – as ambassador tells billionaire to ‘f*** off’ | The Sun

ELON Musk has threatened to cut off the vital satellite internet service used by Ukrainian soldiers – and suggested it's because an ambassador was rude to him.

A letter from his firm SpaceX warning it will end the Starlink service emerged days after a furious bust-up over Crimea and the tycoon's alleged ties to Vladimir Putin.


Musk caused outrage earlier this month with a Twitter poll suggesting a "peace" plan that involves Kyiv ceding Crimea and the Donbas to the Kremlin.

It sparked a furious twitter row with president Volodomyr Zelensky, who accused him of siding with tyrant Putin.

He posted his own Twitter poll asking: "Which @elonmusk do you like more? One who supports Ukraine (or) one who supports Russia."

And Kyiv's ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, tweeted bluntly: "F*** off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk."

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There was further fury after reports Musk had a phone call with Putin, who told him he would use nukes to keep Crimea.

Musk then rejected Kyiv's pleas to extend Starlink to the peninsula, reportedly because he fears it would spark nuclear war.

Musk, the world's richest man, was hailed been a hero in Ukraine after supplying 20,000 Starlink terminals to use on the battlefield.

Ukrainian troops rely on the gadgets – which connect to the internet via Musk's satellites – after Russia cut off terrestrial comms.

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But in recent weeks the service has been hit by mystery outages, forcing soldiers to halt their counterattacks in the south and east.

And last night it emerged Musk's company threatened to axe the service entirely unless the Pentagon paid it tens of millions of dollars.

Documents seen by CNN claim SpaceX has already spent $80million and can no longer fund Starlink in Ukraine.

SpaceX also claimed the service could cost another $400million for the next 12 months, and suggested US taxpayers foot the bill.

The documents also reveal SpaceX rebuffed a direct plea to Elon Musk for a further 8,000 Starlink terminals from Ukraine's top commander General Valeri Zaluzhny.

“We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote to the Pentagon last month.

'Petty'

Musk appeared to confirm it in a tweet today, replying to a Kyiv-based journalist who linked the threat to the ambassador's "f*** off" comment.

Musk tweeted: "We’re just following his recommendation" – adding a shrug emoji.

The billionaire's followers accused him of being "petty".

Another said: "Not a very good ad for a service that many MoDs might be considering and turns out to depend on one person's ego."

Starlink was hailed as a "game changer" for Ukraine's defenders, who relied on it for real-time info to counter Russia's superior firepower with rapid movements on the battlefield.

Musk's satellite terminals have been spotted on armoured cars and mobile artillery units across the front lines.

More recently Starlink has proved vital for forces who retook swathes of Russia-held territory in Kharkiv and pushed deep into Kherson in stunning advances.

However troops hit a stumbling block amid wide-ranging outages.

The FT reported the the outages resulted in a “catastrophic” loss of communications.

Sources told CNN the comms blackout affected the entire front line as it stood on September 30.

One said: “That has affected every effort of the Ukrainians to push past that front.

“Starlink is the main way units on the battlefield have to communicate.”

Troops had no prior warning of the unexplained outages – potentially leaving them vulnerable in battle, it is claimed.

The source added that when troops liberate an area they have to ask for Starlink services to be switched on.

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Musk hopes his Starlink network can provide internet coverage across the globe, although reports claim he has agreed not to include China.

Just weeks ago he boasted another 52 satellites were successfully launched into orbit, taking the total to more than 2,300.



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