Blinken says he had talks with Musk on use of Starlink satellite internet in Ukraine

19 February, 01:24 PM
Antony Blinken (Photo:Petr David Josek/Pool via REUTERS)

Antony Blinken (Photo:Petr David Josek/Pool via REUTERS)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he discussed with billionaire businessman Elon Musk the use of the Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine, news agency Reuters reported on Feb. 18.

At the same time, Blinken refused to say if these talks were about restrictions on the use of the Starlink satellite internet service recently imposed on the Ukrainian army.

The company SpaceX, which Musk owns and which runs the Starlink service, recently said it was restricting the use of its service to non-military purposes only. The Ukrainian military uses Starlink for communications and operating the drones it uses for reconnaissance and correcting artillery fire.

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"Well, I can't share any conversations we've had other than to say we've had conversations," Blinken said, dodging a question from a journalist during an interview with U.S. outlet NBC News.

Following SpaceX’s announcement that it was restricting the use of Starlink, there were fears in Ukraine that the withdrawal of the vital service for Ukraine’s military was a symptom of Musk’s tepid support for Kyiv, and perhaps sympathies for the Kremlin.

Previous actions by Musk have led many in Ukraine to doubt that he supports Ukraine’s efforts to liberate all of its territory from Russian invasion forces.

In October last year, Musk posted a series of tweets proposing that Ukraine make territorial concessions to Russia – allegedly in order to avoid a nuclear threat.

Musk's so-called "peace plan" was seen by many in Ukraine and by its supporters abroad as roadmap of appeasement of the aggressor. It caused outrage among Ukrainian and other politicians, journalists and influencers.

In contrast, the Kremlin called the billionaire's tweets a "positive fact," and Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev praised the billionaire, saying "Musk is a good man."

After the Twitter scandal, Musk claimed he still was a strong supporter of Ukraine, although he tempered that by saying that he was afraid of escalation.

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