In order to avoid participating in a “major act of war,” Elon Musk claims he refused to let Kyiv access to his Starlink communications network over the Crimea.
He added Sevastopol, which is home to a significant Russian navy port, has received an emergency request from Kyiv to activate Starlink. His remarks followed claims in a book that he had turned off Starlink to prevent a drone attack on Russian ships.
A top Ukrainian official accused him of “committing evil” and claimed that this allowed Russian strikes. Since then, he claimed, Russian naval ships have taken part in lethal attacks against people.
The argument started after Walter Isaacson’s biography of the entrepreneur was published, which claimed that Elon Musk cut off Ukraine’s access to Starlink out of concern that an ambush on Russia’s naval fleet in Crimea may result in a nuclear retaliation from the Kremlin.
Submarine drones carrying explosives from Ukraine targeted Russian ships in Sevastopol, but they lost contact with Starlink and “washed ashore harmlessly,” according to Mr. Isaacson.
Musk Sparks Outrage
While the conflict has devastated the nation’s infrastructure, Starlink terminals, which connect to SpaceX satellites in orbit, have proved essential for preserving internet connectivity and communication in Ukraine.
Thousands of Starlink satellite dishes have been delivered to Ukraine by SpaceX, in which Mr. Musk is the largest stakeholder, since shortly after Moscow launched its all-out offensive against its neighbor in February of last year.
In response to the claim made in the book, Mr. Musk stated on Twitter that SpaceX “did not disable anything” because it was never activated in certain places to begin with.
In 2014, eight years before Moscow began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it illegally grabbed Crimea. Along with advocating for a ceasefire, he expressed his personal belief that the lives of Russians and Ukrainians who were fighting “to gain and lose small pieces of land” were not worth it.
When he urged that the world officially recognize Crimea as a part of Russia and have people of regions that Moscow annexed last year vote on which country they wanted to be a part of, he incited outrage last year.
Gary Kasparov, a grandmaster of chess from Russia, called the initiative “moral idiocy.”