Elon Musk refuses, says SpaceX will fund Starlink in Ukraine ‘indefinitely’

In short: Elon Musk appears to have backtracked on his claim that SpaceX cannot fund Starlink in Ukraine indefinitely. Now the CEO says that the company will continue to pay for services and provide terminals to the government of the country.

Since the beginning of the war, SpaceX has delivered about 25,000 Starlink ground terminals to Ukraine. Musk says it cost the company $80 million and will top $100 million by the end of the year. In addition, SpaceX must build, launch, maintain and resupply satellites and ground stations, and pay telcos for Internet access through gateways, all of which cost about $20 million a month. Musk also noted that terminals use data 100 times more than typical households.

Last month, SpaceX’s director of government sales sent a letter to the Pentagon warning that it could not supply more Starlink satellites and fund existing ones in Ukraine indefinitely, according to a CNN report. The costs are estimated to be nearly $380 million over the next 12 months, and they want the US government to pay the bills.

Musk appears to have confirmed the letter’s authenticity with a series of tweets. He noted that competitors such as Lockheed Martin & Boeing received billions of dollars in government contracts for their services. He also referred to the outgoing Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, who told Musk he should “fuck off” over his controversial poll about the Ukraine peace plan, saying, “We’re just following his recommendation.”

The Pentagon confirmed that it was discussing payments with Starlink to provide communications for Ukrainian forces. He also considered potential alternatives. “It’s not just SpaceX, but other organizations that we can certainly work with when it comes to giving Ukraine what they need on the battlefield,” Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said.

But a day after his tweets, Musk changed his stance, likely due to the backlash. “Damn him,” the billionaire wrote on Twitter. “Even though Starlink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions of taxpayer dollars, we will just continue to fund the Ukrainian government for free.”

Starlink’s letter to CNN says that about 85% of the 20,000 terminals in Ukraine have been paid or partially paid by countries such as the US, Poland and the UK. These organizations also paid for about 30% of the Internet connection.

“I have not seen ANY Starlink that has been bought by the government or SpaceX. All the Starlinks I have seen/used have been purchased either by volunteers like myself or by soldiers who have invested their own money. The subscription fee is also paid. pocket,” wrote Dimko Zhluktenko, founder of the Ukrainian military charity Lapa Dzygi (via The keeper).

Musk previously said that SpaceX will add a donation option to Starlink for those who want to donate their equipment and services to those in need.

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