Ukraine blasts Elon Musk for meddling in attack on Russian fleet

September 8, 2023

Officials in Ukraine Friday were blasting SpaceX CEO Elon Musk following a report that he thwarted a major attack on the Russian fleet last year. 

The news emerged when CNN published excerpts of a soon-to-be released biography of Musk, which claims the billionaire secretly ordered his engineers to shut off his Starlink satellite network over Russian-occupied Crimea last year in order to prevent a Ukrainian drone from attacking Russian ships. 

Biographer Walter Isaacson reportedly writes in his upcoming book that Ukrainian officials had begged Musk to turn the satellites back on. But Musk feared—following conversations with Russian officials—that Moscow would respond to a Ukrainian strike with nuclear weapons. 

“How am I in this war?” Musk asked Isaacson during an interview. “Starlink was not meant to be involved in wars. It was so people can watch Netflix and chill and get online for school and do good peaceful things, not drone strikes.”

Following the revelation of Musk’s decision, Ukrainian officials were swift to criticize him.

Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak posted on Musk’s own social media site X, formerly Twitter, “Sometimes a mistake is much more than just a mistake. By not allowing Ukrainian drones to destroy part of the Russian military (!) fleet via #Starlink interference, @elonmusk allowed this fleet to fire Kalibr missiles at Ukrainian cities.”

“As a result,” Podolyak goes on, “civilians, children are being killed. This is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and big ego. However, the question still remains: why do some people so desperately want to defend war criminals and their desire to commit murder? And do they now realize that they are committing evil and encouraging evil?”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has not commented on the report, himself. 

Russia has used its naval ships in the Black Sea to strike deep into Ukrainian territory and impose a blockade of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast.

Musk has responded to the report, denying that he turned off the Starlink satellite service even as he conceded that he chose not to enable the attack.

“The Starlink regions in question were not activated. SpaceX did not deactivate anything,” Musk posted on his social media site.

According to excerpts from Isaacson’s new book, Ukrainian drones packed with explosives ultimately lost connectivity as they approached the Russian fleet and “washed ashore harmlessly.”

Forbes’ real-time ranking lists Musk as the wealthiest person in the world, worth more than $250 billion. 

Last October, Musk asked the U.S. government to take over funding of the Starlink network, but following criticism he backtracked and said he would continue to fund the service for free.

According to reports, SpaceX received $2.8 billion in U.S. government contracts last year, and a total of $15.3 billion in government funding since 2003.

PHOTO: Starlink space mission 2019

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