WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Elon Musk mentioned he refused a Ukrainian request to activate his Starlink satellite tv for pc community in Crimea’s port metropolis of Sevastopol final yr to help an assault on Russia’s fleet there, saying he feared complicity in a “main” act of warfare.
The billionaire businessman made the touch upon his social media platform X after CNN cited a excerpt from a brand new biography of Musk that claims he ordered the Starlink community turned off close to the Crimean coast final yr to disrupt the Ukrainian sneak assault.
Within the publish on X – previously often known as Twitter – late on Thursday, Musk mentioned he had no alternative however to reject an emergency request from Ukraine “to activate Starlink all the best way to Sevastopol.” He didn’t give the date of the request and the excerpt didn’t specify it.
“The plain intent being to sink many of the Russian fleet at anchor,” Musk wrote. “If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX could be explicitly complicit in a significant act of warfare and battle escalation.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, a high adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, slammed the choice in a publish on X, accusing Musk of “committing evil” and defending “warfare criminals and their need to commit homicide.”
Russia, which seized the strategic Crimea peninsula in 2014, bases its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol and has used the fleet in a de issue blockade of Ukrainian ports since its full-scale invasion in 2022.
The Russian fleet fires cruise missiles at Ukrainian civilian targets, and Kyiv has launched assaults on Russian ships utilizing maritime drones.
Based on CNN, Walter Isaacson’s new biography “Elon Musk,” to be launched by Simon & Schuster on Tuesday, says that when Ukrainian explosive-laden submarine drones final yr approached the Russian fleet, they “misplaced connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly.”
It mentioned Musk’s determination, which left Ukrainian officers begging him to show the satellites again on, was pushed by an acute concern that Russia would reply to a Ukrainian assault with nuclear weapons.
CNN mentioned that in accordance with the biography, this was based mostly on Musk’s conversations with senior Russian officers and his fears of a “mini-Pearl Harbor.”
In August, a Russian warship was significantly broken in a Ukrainian naval drone assault on Russia’s Black Sea navy base at Novorossiysk, the primary time the Ukrainian navy has projected its energy so removed from the nation’s shores.
SpaceX, via personal donations and below a separate contract with a U.S. international assist company, has been offering Ukrainians and the nation’s navy with Starlink web service, a fast-growing community of greater than 4,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, because the starting of the warfare in 2022.
The Pentagon mentioned in June that SpaceX’s Starlink had a Division of Protection contract to purchase satellite tv for pc providers for Ukraine.
Commenting on the experiences on Ukrainian nationwide tv, Vadym Skybytskyi, an officer within the Ukrainian Protection Ministry’s Intelligence Directorate GUR, didn’t instantly handle whether or not Musk had declined Ukraine’s request. However he mentioned it was obligatory to analyze and to “appoint a particular group to look at what occurred.”
A Pentagon spokesperson declined to touch upon Musk’s determination however mentioned, “The Division continues to work intently with industrial business to make sure now we have the proper capabilities the Ukrainians have to defend themselves.”
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Jonathan Landay, Phil Stewart and Ron Popeski; Modifying by Don Durfee and Cynthia Osterman)
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