Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, has stated that Starlink will continue to fund the satellite network supplying the military of Ukraine with combat communications throughout its conflict with Russia.
"The hell with it ... even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we'll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free," Musk tweeted on Saturday.
It was unclear whether Musk, who also serves as Tesla's CEO, was being sarcastic. Musk said in response to a tweet regarding the move, "we should still do good deeds."
The comments come after Musk said in a statement on Friday that SpaceX cannot continue to pay for Starlink terminals in Ukraine "indefinitely," following a report that said his space company had requested funding from the Pentagon.
According to a CNN story on Friday, SpaceX has asked the government whether it may pay for any more terminals deployed to Ukraine, as well as existing internet connections. These costs are expected to total $124 million by the end of 2022, and approximately $380 million over the next year. Musk later stated on Twitter that Starlink cannot support services in Ukraine "indefinitely," saying that Starlink is losing around $20 million per month to keep its services running.
According to Musk, Starlink has supplied roughly 25,000 terminals to aid in the conflict in Ukraine. Given that the country continues to experience blackouts as a result of Russian missile strikes and the risk of cyberattacks is still high, the service has been crucial in ensuring that the Ukrainian military and civilian population has access to the internet throughout the war.
The Financial Times reported earlier this month that Starlink disruptions have resulted in "catastrophic" communications breakdowns amongst troops. The study "falsely claims that Starlink terminals & service were paid for, when only a small percentage have been," Musk wrote in response to the story on Twitter.
CNN, however, claims that money for the terminals was entirely or partially funded by the U.S. government, the U.K., and Poland.
Musk was chastised after polling Twitter users on whether Ukraine should achieve "peace" with Russia by handing over Crimea and other annexed territories. Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, responded, saying, "f*ck off is my very diplomatic reply."
Later, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted that Musk is "among the world's top private donors supporting Ukraine" and that "Starlink is an essential element of our critical infrastructure."
The SpaceX founder is also in the midst of a $44 billion offer to acquire Twitter, which he had tried to elude. A judge determined that if he wants to avoid a trial, he has until Oct. 28 to complete the acquisition.