“Starlink was not meant to be involved in wars. It was so people can watch Netflix and chill and get online for school and do good peaceful things, not drone strikes.” Elon Musk
In a stunning act of rogue interference in U.S. foreign policy, Elon Musk disabled a Ukrainian drone attack on the Russian Naval Fleet by secretly ordering his engineers to turn off his company’s Starlink satellite communications network near the Crimean coast last year, according to Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the billionaire titled “Elon Musk.”
According to The Daily Beast “With the comms down, the Ukrainian submarine drones packed with explosives “lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly,” Isaacson writes, according to CNN. Musk was reportedly motivated to foil the attack out of concern that a strike on Crimea would constitute a “mini-Pearl Harbor” and lead to Russia retaliating with nuclear weapons.”
CNN reports that Mykhailo Fedorov, a deputy prime minister of Ukraine, was pleading with Musk to restore connectivity for the submarine drones by telling Musk about their capabilities in a text message. Musk replied that he wouldn’t turn satellite coverage back on for Crimea because Ukraine “is now going too far and inviting strategic defeat,” according to Isaacson.
The unchartered territory that Ukrainian and US officials were in – relying on the charity of an unpredictable billionaire for battlefield communications – also led to a standoff over who would pay for the Starlink terminals last fall. SpaceX eventually worked out a deal with US and European governments to pay for another 100,000 new satellite dishes to Ukraine at the beginning of 2023, according to Isaacson.
Last week, the US and its “Five Eyes” allies accused Russian hackers of targeting Ukrainian commanders’ battlefield communications. The Russians’ malicious code was designed to intercept data sent to Starlink satellites, according to the Ukrainians.