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Elon Musk vows to keep Starlink up over Ukraine after diplomatic spat, asking for payment

It did not stop him from complaining about the cost of keeping the network running.

October 15, 2022 4:49pm

Updated: October 15, 2022 4:51pm

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk dropped his request that the U.S. government pay for his Starlink satellite internet service over Ukraine on Saturday, ending worries that he would withdraw the service over a diplomatic spat earlier this month.

“The hell with it… even though Starlink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions of taxpayer dollars, we’ll just keep funding the Ukraine government for free,” he posted on Twitter.

On Oct. 3, Musk tweeted his own proposal for peacefully resolving the Russia-Ukraine war, including a suggestion that Kyiv should remain “neutral” that rankled its officials and allies.

“Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you,” replied Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s former Ambassador to Germany.

“The only outcome is that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f---ing tesla crap. So good luck to you.”

CNN reported on Friday that SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon last month that warned it may stop funding Starlink, which the company has operated over Ukraine since Feb. 26, unless the U.S. military began covering its costs.

When a journalist at the Kyiv Post reminded people of Melnyk’s expletive-laced tweet, Musk replied, “We’re just following his recommendation.”

Musk’s Saturday tweet suggests that the satellite internet service will remain up in Ukraine for now but it did not stop the world’s richest man from engaging in banter with commenters.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” replied David Sacks, a tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was an early investor in SpaceX.

“Even so, we should still do good deeds,” said Musk in response.

“Funny thing is you paid a record amount of taxes and you gotta figure some % of that went to Ukraine too lol,” posted another user.

“Fate loves irony,” Musk replied.