Musk says Tesla’s Starlink cannot keep providing Internet for Ukraine

Elon Musk has said his rocket firm SpaceX cannot continue indefinitely paying for Ukraine’s Starlink internet service in his latest spat with Kyiv.

In February, the world’s richest man activated his company’s satellite internet system in Ukraine to keep its military and people online.

But last month the Tesla owner asked the Pentagon to fund the programme instead of him, according to US media.

He recently provoked Kyiv’s ire by suggesting it cede territory.

“SpaceX is not asking to recoup past expenses, but also cannot fund the existing system indefinitely,” Mr Musk tweeted on Friday, referring to his space company that makes the Starlink system.

Starlink works by providing broadband internet through a network of satellites. It has proven vital for Ukraine’s military as it fights to retake Ukrainian land from Russia.

But the programme costs $20m per month to maintain, according to Mr Musk. He recently said SpaceX had spent $80m so far to keep Ukraine online.

“In addition to terminals, we have to create, launch, maintain & replenish satellites & ground stations,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We’ve also had to defend against cyberattacks & jamming, which are getting harder.”

Ukraine’s vice-Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, downplayed tensions with Mr Musk, writing on Twitter that the billionaire “is among the world’s top private donors supporting Ukraine”.

“Starlink is an essential element of our critical infrastructure,” he wrote.

A Ukrainian presidential advisor said that Ukraine will find a solution to keep Starlink working.

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