The SpaceX chief oversaw the introduction of the Starlink telecommunications system to Ukraine last year
Elon Musk claimed to have donated $100 million to support Kiev in its conflict with Moscow during a social media discussion with American author Stephen King on Sunday. Last year, the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter oversaw the introduction of the Starlink telecommunications system in Ukraine.
“I gave 100 million dollars to Ukraine, how much did you give?” Musk asked King in a tweet on Sunday after the author suggested the billionaire was giving a portion of the proceeds of the social media platform’s new payment verification model to Kiev.
Musk also retweeted an October message from Ukraine’s Technology Minister Mikhail Federov thanking the SpaceX CEO for providing Ukraine with the company’s Starlink satellite network, which he called ” important critic”.
The Twitter owner also noted that SpaceX had turned down funding from the US Department of Defense to help pay for the system’s operating costs, which it estimated last year would reach $100 million by the end of 2022.
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Shortly after the conflict began last year, Musk made Starlink, a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit that provides Internet access, available to Ukraine following a request from Federov . The communications network was deployed by Kiev to monitor troop movements and other methods of gathering military information, particularly because Ukraine’s pre-existing Internet infrastructure was regularly inoperable.
However, in February, Kiev responded angrily after Musk and SpaceX imposed limits on the use of Starlink in Ukraine amid reports that the technology was being harnessed for drone use. Mikhail Podolyak, a senior adviser to Vladimir Zelensky, argued at the time that SpaceX must decide whether it is “on the side of the right to freedom.”
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s chief operating officer, said during a press conference in the United States last February that the system was not intended to be used in Ukraine for “offensive purposes” and that it was “never, ever intended to be armed.”