Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, the identical twin of Arizona Democrat senator Mark Kelly, made an effort to get SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to let Ukraine use SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service. He wanted Ukriane’s military to be able to use it, but last September, Musk said no.
“Starlink is meant for peaceful use only,” Musk said.
But now, Musk recently tweeted, “SpaceX Starlink has become the connectivity backbone of Ukraine all the way up to the front lines. This is the damned if you do part. However, we are not allowing Starlink to be used for long-range drone strikes. This is the damned if you don’t part.”
Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX, reacted strongly when made aware that Ukraine’s military had used Starlink to control drones.
She said that
Starlink was permitted to be used by Ukraine for broadband internet for hospitals, banks, and families affected by Russia’s invasion, but Shotwell said it was never meant to be weaponized.
“However, Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement. … There are things that we can do to limit their ability to do that. There are things that we can do, and have done,” she said.
Mykailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, responded: “A year of [Ukrainian] resistance & companies have to decide: Either they are on the side of [Ukraine] & the right to freedom, and don’t seek ways to do harm. Or they are on RF’s side & its ‘right’ to kill & seize territories. SpaceX (Starlink) and Mrs Shotwell should choose a specific option.”
Kelly joined in again and told Musk that Ukraine desperately needed his continued support.
He asked Must to restore the full functionality of the Starlink satellites and said that innocent lives would be lost, it was a matter of survival.
“You’re smart enough not to swallow media and other propaganda bs,” Musk responded. “Starlink is the communication backbone for Ukraine, especially at the front lines, where almost all other internet connectivity has been destroyed. But we will not enable escalation of conflict that may lead to WW3.”
A year of 🇺🇦 resistance & companies have to decide:
-Either they are on the side of 🇺🇦 & the right to freedom, and don’t seek ways to do harm.
-Or they are on RF’s side & its "right" to kill & seize territories.#SpaceX (Starlink) & Mrs. #Shotwell should choose a specific option
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) February 9, 2023