Ukraine worried over Musk delve into geopolitics - reports
Ukraine is anxious that it might lose access to Elon Musk's Starlink following his online dive into Russian-Ukrainian geopolitical issues.
Elon Musk has been a fan favorite in Ukraine over the past few months, as he granted - though at the expense of the Biden administration - Kiev access to his international satellite-internet service, Starlink, and largely expressed his pro-Ukraine position online.
However, that all fell apart for the eccentric billionaire when he went on Twitter and displayed a pro-democratic sentiment in the Russian-liberated regions of the Donbass, asking whether the people of the region, as well as Crimea, should be able to decide whether they are a part of Russia or Ukraine and making several proposals that could help Moscow and Kiev achieve peace.
Musk's so-called peace plan said elections should be held under the supervision of the United Nations in the territories recently added to Russia to see whether they wanted to remain part of Russia or not; Crimea is recognized as Russian; Ukraine assures the water supply to Crimea; Ukraine remains a neutral party.
He also underlined that this would be the outcome of the war regardless, therefore, it was "just a question of how many die before then."
The Kremlin described Musk's initiative as positive, but it got Tesla's CEO lots of flak, as Ukrainian officials, diplomats, and even the country's president bashed the billionaire.
Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) October 3, 2022
Which @elonmusk do you like more?— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 3, 2022
According to The Economist, Officials in Ukraine are highly concerned, as they fear that they have lost a critical strategic ally. Off social media, there were more than just "sassy" tweets from Zelensky and his staff, as many officials in Kiev largely believe that Musk's plan was the product of communication between him and Moscow, and several have voiced their fears that Musk could be convinced to withdraw Ukraine's access to Starlink.
There are now 20,000 terminals in Ukraine that Starlink sends high-speed internet to from very low orbit. The high-speed internet has been very beneficial for Ukraine, with Musk coming together with the US government to give Kiev access to the service for free - the US paid for the majority of the terminals and Musk waived the usual monthly fees.
Starlink "changed the course of the war to Ukraine’s advantage," said Mykhailo Fedorov, a deputy prime minister.
Starlink is of such importance that Ukraine's train system depends on it, and so does the government, as it uses it to transmit communications, including Zelensky's broadcasts.
Most importantly, Starlink serves as a secure form of communication on the frontline for mobile command posts and drones, among many other things.
Ignore the tweets, "Starlink is our oxygen, you can’t just turn it off. If we tell Musk [to] piss off and take his Starlinks with him, our army would collapse into chaos," a Ukrainian troop argued.
In the meantime, SpaceX's Starlink satellites are still deployed across Ukraine, as they were initially following a request from the Ukrainian Vice PM, with Musk himself promising more are yet to come.
Mykhailo Fedorov, also Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation, tweeted Musk requesting that SpaceX switch on its Starlink broadband satellites to supplement the country's Internet services which have been allegedly disrupted during the war on Ukraine.