Ekaterina Girnyk16:24, 07.09.23
It is noted that Musk’s decision was caused by an acute fear that Russia would respond to Ukraine’s attack on Crimea with nuclear weapons.
Last year, Elon Musk secretly shut down Starlink off the coast of Crimea to thwart a Ukrainian underwater drone attack on the Russian navy. Walter Isaacson writes about this in his new biography of Musk, CNN reports .
It is noted that when Ukrainian underwater drones loaded with explosives approached the Russian fleet, they “lost contact and washed ashore harmlessly.”
“Musk’s decision, which left Ukrainian officials begging him to turn the satellites back on, was driven by acute fear that Russia would respond to Ukraine’s attack on Crimea with nuclear weapons, a fear fueled by Musk’s conversations with senior Russian officials,” Isaacson writes.
As CNN notes, the episode reveals the unique position Musk found himself in as the war in Ukraine unfolded. Intentionally or not, he became a power broker that American officials could not ignore.
“Starlink wasn’t designed to be used in wars. It was made so people could watch Netflix, relax, connect to the Internet at school and do good peaceful things, not drone strikes,” Musk said.
The publication also writes that Musk was asked to restore the Starlink connection by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Fedorov.
“I just want you, a person who is changing the world through technology, to know this,” the minister wrote to Musk.
At the same time, Musk replied that he was impressed by the design of underwater drones, but he would not turn on Starlink communications again because Ukraine “is now going too far and could suffer a strategic defeat.”
Starlink in Ukraine
Elon Musk’s SpaceX provided Ukraine with access to Starlink satellite communications immediately after the full-scale invasion – the first terminals were activated on February 26, 2022.
In September, SpaceX approached the Pentagon with a request to finance the future operation of terminals in Ukraine. The billionaire himself, explaining this appeal, noted that he has to spend money not only on ensuring uninterrupted communications, but also on cyber protection from Russian hackers who are constantly trying to hack the system .
Previously, Elon Musk admitted that he was very afraid of an escalation of the conflict , which could lead to the use of nuclear weapons by Russia and the outbreak of World War III.
Ukraine has recently successfully used naval underwater drones to attack the Russian Federation. Thus, with their help, the Crimean Bridge , the Russian landing ship “Olenegorsky Miner” and the SIG tanker were attacked.