SpaceX Footed $80 Million Bill To Provide Starlink Coverage In Ukraine Says Musk

Ramish Zafar

This is not investment advice. The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. has a disclosure and ethics policy.

SpaceX's chief Mr. Elon Musk has shared that his company spent millions of dollars to ship Starlink user terminals to Ukraine to help locals with Internet connectivity during the ongoing Russian invasion. Russian forces decapacitated Ukraine's connectivity infrastructure during the early phases of the war, and soon Musk's SpaceX shipped the dishes to Ukraine according to a Ukrainian government official. This drew the executive some flak from none other than the former head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, and in a reply to coverage by the Washington Post stating that the U.S. government was funding Starlink shipments to the war-torn country, Musk clarified that the bulk of costs was borne by his company instead.

Elon Musk Hit With Accusations Of Supporting Russia As Tide Shifts In Ukraine's Favor

The latest bit of the saga surrounding the electric vehicle billionaire surfaced yesterday as he shared his thoughts on the solution to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Musk opened up a poll on his Twitter account, where he asked followers whether they agreed with Ukraine remaining neutral, a United Nations monitored poll for Ukrainian territories annexed by Russia and Crimea becoming a part of Russia with a resumption of water supplies to the disputed territory.

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In response, accusations started to flow in, implying that Musk was supporting a Russian-backed referendum in the territories, with even the Ukrainian president Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky joining the discussion through a poll of his own which asked followers whether they liked a pro-Russian or a pro-Ukrainian Musk. Responding to the president, Musk clarified that he supports Ukraine but is wary of the bloodshed that might follow if the war witnesses another escalation.

Alongside the Ukrainian President, who has received widespread sympathy in the West after his regular visit to the battlefield and passionate pleas for support, the renowned Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov also jumped into the fray.

Kasparov was hard-hitting in his criticism of Musk's poll, calling it a "repetition of Kremlin propaganda" and ignorant of the bloody nature of the Russian war. The chess champion's comments were followed up with a reply mentioning a recent piece by the Washington Post which had outlined that the U.S government was paying to ship the Starlink terminals to Ukraine.

The Post had claimed that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had bought 1,330 terminals from SpaceX, and Musk's company had donated the remaining 3,670 terminals out of the remaining 5,000. SpaceX had also provided unlimited Internet packages as part of the donation for three months according to documents seen by The Post. Overall, the arrangement cost the government more than $3 million, with $800,000 for transportation costs and $1,500 per piece for a user dish.

Responding to the piece, Musk called it a "hit piece" and stated that it had cost SpaceX $80 million to support Ukraine through Starlink.

According to him:

SpaceX’s out of pocket cost to enable & support Starlink in Ukraine is ~$80M so far. Our support for Russia is $0. Obviously, we are pro Ukraine. Trying to retake Crimea will cause massive death, probably fail & risk nuclear war. This would be terrible for Ukraine & Earth.

7:25 PM · Oct 3, 2022 ·Twitter for iPhone

As far as Musk's original poll goes, the majority of users have rejected his suggestion, but he claims that the results have once again been altered through fake votes cast via bots. These bots have been the centerpiece of Musk's attempt to take over Twitter, have called into question Twitter's controls over the fake accounts and have given Musk significant leverage in his negotiations for one of the world's largest social media companies.

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