Amid the scandal caused by Elon Musk’s arguments about the war in Ukraine and scenarios for achieving peace, Musk claimed his company SpaceX can no longer pay for the essential satellite service Starlink in Ukraine and requested assistance from the Pentagon.

The Starlink satellite internet terminals produced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX have been an essential means of communication for Ukraine’s military ever since the spring of last year, allowing it to fight and stay connected even as cellular phone and internet networks were severely damaged in Ukraine’s war with Russia.

However, those philanthropic donations may soon come to an end as SpaceX has warned the Pentagon that it may stop supporting the service in Ukraine unless the US military contributes tens of millions of dollars each month.


Musk tweeted on Friday that the operation had already cost SpaceX $80 million and would cost more than $100 million by the end of the year. To date, about 20,000 Starlink satellites have been donated to Ukraine.

According to documents obtained by CNN, Musk’s SpaceX informed the Pentagon in September that it could no longer afford to support the Starlink service in the same way. Additionally, it asked the Pentagon to assume responsibility for funding Ukraine’s government and military use of Starlink, which, according to SpaceX, would cost more than $120 million this year and could charge as much as $400 million over the course of the following year.

The Pentagon received a letter from SpaceX’s director of government sales stating “We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time.”

A previously unreported direct request for nearly 8,000 more Starlink terminals made to Musk by the commanding general of the Ukrainian military, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, is among the SpaceX documents that were sent to the Pentagon and seen by top sources.


SpaceX’s outside consultant said in a different cover letter to the Pentagon: “SpaceX faces terribly difficult decisions here. As requested by General Zaluzhnyi, I don’t believe they have the financial resources to offer any additional terminals or services.”

The previously unreported documents offer a rare breakdown of SpaceX’s own internal Starlink numbers, outlining the expenses and payments related to the many terminals in Ukraine. They also shed new light on covert negotiations that gave Ukraine communications equipment and services worth millions of dollars at little expense to Kyiv.

As previously reported, the American businessman Elon Musk has continued his Twitter argument with Ukrainian officials and others that began after he expressed his opinion on how to stop Russia’s war against Ukraine. Kyiv Post has also been involved in the exchanges.

The billionaire had another exchange with the Kyiv Post on Oct. 14, but this time with its special correspondent Jason Jay Smart, who tweeted “Elon Musk’s Starlink says it can no longer afford to give Ukraine free service and asks the Pentagon to pay for it. Starlink had been a game changer in the war.”


“This comes days after Ukrainian Ambassador @MelnykAndrij told Musk to “f— off,” he added.

Smart’s viral tweet, which received over 20,000 likes on Twitter, prompted a response from Musk, who sarcastically tweeted back, “We’re just following his recommendation.”

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter