American entrepreneur Elon Muskʼs company SpaceX has warned the Pentagon that it may stop funding its services in Ukraine unless the American military allocates tens of millions of dollars a month.
This is reported by CNN.
Documents obtained by CNN show that SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon in September saying it could no longer continue to fund Starlink services in Ukraine as it had been doing. The letter also included a request for the Pentagon to take over funding for the use of Starlink in Ukraine, which "will cost more than $120 million by the end of the year and could cost approximately $400 million over the next 12 months."
"We are unable to continue gifting terminals to Ukraine or funding existing terminals for an indefinite period of time," SpaceXʼs director of government sales wrote to the Pentagon in a September letter.
SpaceXʼs demand that the U.S. military foot the bill has angered senior Pentagon officials, with one senior Defense Department official telling CNN that SpaceX "has the nerve to look like heroes."
Also, among the SpaceX documents that the company sent to the Pentagon and which CNN got acquainted with, there is an alleged direct request in July from the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi for almost 8 thousand more Starlink terminals.
According to SpaceX data that the company provided to the Pentagon, almost 85% of the 20 000 terminals in Ukraine were paid for or partially paid for by countries such as the United States and Poland or other organizations. They also paid for almost 30% of the Internet connection, which, according to SpaceX, costs $4 500 per month per unit (Elon Musk tweeted that there are approximately 25 000 terminals in Ukraine).
- On October 6, the American newspaper The Financial Times wrote that the Ukrainian military is complaining about interruptions in the work of Starlink on the front line, which complicates the de-occupation. Roman Sinitsyn, a volunteer who provides Ukrainian military Starlink systems, said the problem may have arisen because of SpaceXʼs attempts to prevent its misuse by the Russian military. He claims that failures were observed in recently liberated areas, the capture of which was not officially reported by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.