Home / News / World /  Taking a U-turn, Elon Musk to continue funding Starlink in Ukraine for free

Billionaire Elon Musk has said that his rocket company SpaceX will continue to fund its Starlink service in war-hit regions of Ukraine. Announcing it on Twitter, Musk wrote, "the hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we'll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free".

However, just a day before writing a tweet, Musk had told that SpaceX could not indefinitely fund Starlink in Ukraine.

Musk tweeted that it was costing SpaceX $20 million a month to support Ukraine's communications needs.

"SpaceX is not asking to recoup past expenses, but also cannot fund the existing system indefinitely *and* send several thousand more terminals that have data usage up to 100X greater than typical households," he said Friday.

The Starlink satellite service has helped civilians and the military stay online during the war with Russia. Starlink, a constellation of more than 3,000 small satellites in low Earth orbit, has been vital to Ukraine's communications as it battles Russia.

Although it was not immediately clear whether Musk's change of mind was genuine, he later appeared to indicate it was. When a Twitter user told Musk "No good deed goes unpunished", he replied, "Even so, we should still do good deeds".

Elon Musk has been in online fights with Ukrainian officials over a peace plan he put forward which Ukraine says is too generous to Russia, which includes acknowledging Russian sovereignty over Crimea.

Meanwhile, the US military confirmed it was communicating with the billionaire's company about funding for the key network, the news agency AFP said.

SpaceX has donated some 25,000 ground terminals to Ukraine, according to an updated figure given by Musk last week.

He says the operation has already cost SpaceX $80 million, and that total is projected to exceed $100 million by the end of the year.

In a recent interview with CNN, Musk said he had written to the Pentagon warning that his financial contributions would come to an end and that the military would need to foot the bill.

According to CNN, SpaceX figures shared with the Pentagon show about 85 percent of the first 20,000 terminals in Ukraine were paid at least in part by countries such as the United States, Poland, or other entities, which also paid for about 30 percent of internet connectivity.

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