Elon Musk has said he prevented Ukraine from wiping out Russia's Black Sea navy fleet last year by denying Starlink internet access, prompting a furious response from Kyiv with one official accusing him of “committing evil.”

How did Musk manage that?

The satellite-based communications system Starlink, operated by Musk-owned company SpaceX, has been deployed in Ukraine since shortly after the country was invaded by Russia in February 2022. 

The network, which helps increasingly high-tech soldiers to operate in areas where other means of communication are down, is a key battlefield tool for Kyiv.

The incident in question revolves around a dramatic plan by Ukraine to cripple Russia's Black Sea naval fleet based in Sevastopol, a strategic harbor in Crimea, which Moscow occupied and claimed to annex in 2014. 

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“There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol. The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor,” Musk posted on Thursday on his social media platform X, formerly named Twitter. 

“If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation,” he added.

How has Kyiv responded?

Angrily. Russia regularly uses its Black Sea Fleet to launch cruise missiles at Ukrainian cities and a successful Ukrainian attack against it last year would likely have saved hundreds of lives and stopped the Kremlin’s attempted destruction of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure.

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Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said: “As a result, civilians, children are being killed. This is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and big ego.

“Why do some people so desperately want to defend war criminals and their desire to commit murder? And do they now realise that they are committing evil and encouraging evil?”

How do we know about the incident?

Musk's account of preventing the attack on Russia's fleet came in response to a post based on information from an upcoming biography by Walter Isaacson, which says the tech tycoon had deactivated Starlink in the Crimea area to do so. 

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In an excerpt published by The Washington Post on Thursday, Isaacson wrote that in September 2022, “the Ukrainian military was attempting a sneak attack on the Russian naval fleet based at Sevastopol in Crimea by sending six small drone submarines packed with explosives, and it was using Starlink to guide them to the target.”

Musk had “spoken to the Russian ambassador to the United States... (who) had explicitly told him that a Ukrainian attack on Crimea would lead to a nuclear response,” Isaacson wrote. 

Musk “secretly told his engineers to turn off coverage within 100 kilometers of the Crimean coast. As a result, when the Ukrainian drone subs got near the Russian fleet in Sevastopol, they lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly.”

Musk pushed back against Isaacson's account, saying in a post on X: “The Starlink regions in question were not activated. SpaceX did not deactivate anything.”

How has Russia responded?

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They seem to be very happy with Musk.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's ex-president and current senior security advisor to President Putin, praised Musk for the book's account of his actions. 

He “was concerned about a retaliatory nuclear strike,” Medvedev posted on X, adding: "If what Isaacson has written in his book is true, then it looks like Musk is the last adequate mind in North America.”

Has Musk apologised?

No, but he has doubled-down on saying things that will anger Ukrainians. Musk also called for a truce in the conflict, in which Ukrainian forces regained significant ground from Russia last year but have only made slow progress in a counteroffensive launched in June. 

“Both sides should agree to a truce. Every day that passes, more Ukrainian and Russian youth die to gain and lose small pieces of land, with borders barely changing. This is not worth their lives,” Musk posted. 

Ukraine's leadership has repeatedly said it is committed to driving out Russian troops and retaking all its occupied territory.

Will there be any repercussions?

For a start, the admission by Musk – who has previously angered Ukraine with proposals including validating Russia's claim to sovereignty over the occupied Crimea region – raises questions about whether Starlink can be fully counted on by Kyiv. 

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Then there’s the fact that on Friday, Ukrainian deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov told the Financial Times that Musk shared with Isaacson confidential exchanges about military access to Starlink without permission from Fedorov, describing the situation as “not very pretty.”

He added: “I’ve never shown or talked about our correspondence publicly.”

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Comments (7)

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Joseph Swanson
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musk is a communist russian loving piece of filth. He did not just order Starlink to be turned off...he had the system turned off on putin's birthday.
Ukraine defends itself and he claims escalation...russia has done nothing but escalation and he remains silent.
musk MAY have been promised exclusive rights to items such as aluminum and lithium in Eastern Ukraine for his commie clown cars. musk claims he allowed Starlink in Ukraine to be used to "watch netflix, learn, and chill." Who the hell watches netflix and chills in a nation at war?
Let's not forget this is the same musk who inherited blood money from his racist father who owned and operated minds in South Africa and exploited Africans. musk must remove himself and his garbage Starlink, which I said from day one would be used as a trojan horse against Ukraine, out of my nation and keep his uneducated opinions of "truce" to himself. musk describes how he had a conversation with a russian official warning of a nuclear response in Crimea YET musk seems to think a "truce" is possible with the same people threatening nuclear annihilation of the world every other week. musk clearly suffers from dunning kruger.

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Anonymous
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Musk is a disgrace for people of wealth

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Maple leaf
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I don't buy it by shutting down starlink he's a coward. These ships are killing people as I write these words. Musk is an asshole.

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Mickey Cashen
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First, we're supposed to believe that four small drones could wipe out the entire Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Second, we're supposed to believe that act would trigger a nuclear explosion in Ukraine whose radiation would have drifted west to the Baltic, Poland, Germany, etc. where those countries would have declared some level of a state of conflict with Russia.
I don't buy it.
Musk is looking at a future with Russia and doesn't care what happens to Ukraine. He's demonstrated he's all for false information being spread on the Internet in the USA.

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Tom
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Musk is a peace of dung for doing what he did with communications and Ukraine. It should be questioned if in fact Musk is a supporter of Putin. Musk has no business involving himself in international relations when it comes to war. He has in the past shown himself to be unreliable and acts unstable from time to time. I am sure our military has means to provide communication to our military where ever they are. It is time my country, the USA, provide Ukraine with access to our military satellites so they no longer have to rely on Musk as it is questionable if he actually wants Russia to win or even if he is a supporter of Democracy. He is totally undependable and should be doubted and watched closely for he will stab you in the back again if it suits him.

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Imokru2
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Author Isaacson is a supporter of the left, so is Glasnost Gone. So long as he was perceived to support the left, Musk was a saint. But now he is perceived to be a supporter of the right, so he is the devil incarnate. Just read the comments below. This article, with no author shown, is a witch’s brew of misinformation.

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Genocidal Rasshist Organisation Elonmusk, GROe
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elon musk WAR CRIMINAL

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