SpaceX, the company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has made a surprising admission regarding its involvement in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The company’s President and COO, Gwynne Shotwell, confessed to CNN that SpaceX limited Ukrainian access to its Starlink satellite internet, hindering reliable internet access in the war-torn country and disabling key tools used by Ukrainian forces to resist the Russian invasion.
Around the time that Elon Musk called for a ceasefire and peace deal that would have Ukraine surrender to Russia’s territorial demands, SpaceX was actively limiting Ukraine’s access to satellite internet. Shotwell attempted to take the blame for an earlier policy error when documents showed that SpaceX threatened to cut off Starlink service in Ukraine unless the U.S. military took responsibility for funding.
SpaceX’s political gestures and decisions, however, are likely influenced by its founder, Elon Musk, who has shown displeasure towards Ukrainian use of the services provided by his companies. In October, just days before he purchased Twitter, he proposed a peace plan that was heavily criticized by Ukrainian and international observers as being pro-Russia. The Kremlin praised Musk by name for his plan, while Ukrainian authorities rejected it vehemently. After being hurt by Ukraine’s rejection, Musk briefly tried to deny Starlink access to the entire country but was stopped by public pressure.
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Despite Musk’s antics, SpaceX remains a crucial tool for the Ukrainian people in their struggle against Russia. The restrictions imposed by the company on Ukrainian users have mostly been lifted, and Ukrainian forces praise the unrestricted access to Starlink as a vital tool providing better security against Russian attacks for both military units and Ukrainian civilians.