Elon Musk says he fears he will no longer be able to finance the Starlink internet network in Ukraine. According to the American entrepreneur, at the head of SpaceX, the company no longer has the means to continue to finance the Starlink internet network in the country at war, he assured, Friday 14 october. The space enterprise “cannot continue to fund the existing system indefinitely and send thousands of additional terminals (…). This is not reasonable”he tweeted.
Since the start of the Russian offensive at the end of February, SpaceX has delivered some 25,000 terminals to Ukraine, which provide an Internet connection through a constellation of satellites forming the Starlink network. According to the contractor, the operation has already cost 80 million dollars and the bill should reach 100 million by the end of the year.
According to CNN, this declaration is a foot call for the American Department of Defense, which the company asks to take over the financing of the use of Starlink by the Ukrainian government and its army, the cost of which was estimated at $400 million for the next 12 months. SpaceX last month sent a letter to the Pentagon to tell it that it could no longer afford the costs of the service in Ukraine, the channel continues.
The Starlink network has helped maintain internet coverage in areas of Ukraine hit by the Russian military. As of June, around 15% of Ukraine’s existing internet infrastructure had been destroyed or damaged, authorities said. Ukrainian telecommunications operators have also been targeted by numerous cyberattacks.“Starlink is the only communication system that continues to function on the front, all the others are dead”tweeted Elon Musk. “Russia is actively trying to kill Starlink”, he added. The billionaire warned that despite resources being earmarked to defend Starlink, the system “could well disappear”.
According to the British daily FinancialTimesthe Ukrainian forces may have suffered cuts in Starlink service at the front, which would have hampered their counter-offensive, before the situation improved.
“To our knowledge, SpaceX has not interrupted its service to Ukraine’s civil government agencies and critical infrastructure operators,” a spokesman for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said Friday evening. He said the agency had bought more than 1 500 terminals to SpaceX to deliver them to Ukraine, then 86 new terminals in July for the authorities of the Lviv region.