Starlink problems not related to Elon Musk, says Israeli military expert

14 October 2022, 11:54 PM
Elon Musk at a press conference on August 25 (Photo:REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Elon Musk at a press conference on August 25 (Photo:REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Israel Defense Forces officer and military analyst Yigal Levin said in an interview with Radio NV on Oct. 13 that Ukraine's problems with Starlink communications in the south are in no way related to Elon Musk and his scandalous tweets about Ukraine.

The idea of deploying the Starlink network over Ukraine was not Elon Musk’s, but the Pentagon’s, Levin told Radio NV.

“The covered area was only the territory controlled by Ukraine,” the Israeli officer said.

“Since Ukraine has been rapidly liberating large territories, which were controlled by Russia’s forces only yesterday, they simply don’t have Starlink coverage. That’s it. The Americans did not want Russians to be able to use Starlink technology. That’s why it’s important to broaden the area of its coverage. How? I can’t answer this from a technical point of view, I am no Starlink expert.”

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This issue is in no way connected with any conspiracy or “Musk’s delusions about Crimea,” Levin added.

Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX founder, published a series of tweets on Oct. 3, suggesting the “most likely” way to reach peace between Russia and Ukraine. He proposed his followers to vote on the following scenario:

  • Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.
  • Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
  • Water supply to Crimea assured.
  • Ukraine remains neutral.

This caused a massive scandal, which followed by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s response on Twitter with another vote: “Which Elon Musk do you like more?”

  • One who supports Ukraine
  • One who supports Russia

After backlash on Twitter, Musk tried to back down. In response to Zelenskyy’s tweet, he wrote: “I still very much support Ukraine, but am convinced that massive escalation of the war will cause great harm to Ukraine and possibly the world.”

Then, on Oct. 6, Musk caused outrage in Ukraine again when he tweeted a map of the electoral mood of Ukrainians based on the results of the 2012 parliamentary elections. According to it, the majority of districts, especially located in the east and south of the country, voted for the pro-Russian Party of Regions. A little less – for the Motherland party, which won votes in the central and western regions.

Musk implied that the decade-old election results indicated that there is now widespread support in Ukraine for parts of the country being annexed by Russia – which is false.

UK newspaper the Financial Times reported disruptions in Starlink work at the frontline on Oct. 7.

Musk also rejected a request from Ukraine to connect the Starlink satellite Internet system to territories occupied by Russia, in particular in Crimea, Insider reported, citing analyst and president of Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer.

Elon Musk's company SpaceX has now informed the Pentagon that it can no longer finance the critical satellite services of Starlink systems in Ukraine, CNN reported on Oct. 13.

So far roughly 20,000 Starlink satellite units have been donated to Ukraine, with Musk tweeting on Oct. 14 that the “operation has cost SpaceX $80 million and will exceed $100 million by the end of the year.”

In response to a tweet about this by political technologist and political analyst Jason Jay Smart, Musk said that he follows the advice of the former ambassador of Ukraine to Germany, Andrii Melnyk.

In his response to Musk’s peace proposal for Ukraine, Melnyk said: “F**k you – my very diplomatic answer to you, Elon Musk.”

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