Musk: SpaceX could continue to fund satellite service in Ukraine

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire Elon Musk suggested in a tweet on Saturday that his rocket company SpaceX could continue to fund its Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine. But Musk’s tone and phrasing also raised the possibility that the irascible Tesla CEO was simply being sarcastic.

Musk frequently tweets jokes and insults and sometimes takes unusual tangents, such as a recent series of tweets suggesting that one of his companies has started selling its own line of fragrances. It is unclear if SpaceX has actually established any future service plans in Ukraine.

On Friday, senior US officials confirmed that Musk had formally requested the Department of Defense to take over funding for the service provided by Starlink in Ukraine. Starlink, which provides broadband internet service using more than 2,200 low-orbit satellites, has provided crucial battlefield communications to Ukraine’s military forces since it began defending the country against the Russian invasion in February.

“Damn it…even if Starlink continues to lose money and other companies receive billions of taxpayer dollars, we will continue to fund the Ukrainian government for free,” Musk tweeted on Saturday.

On Friday morning, Musk tweeted that it was costing SpaceX $20 million a month to meet Ukraine’s communications needs. Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The senior US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue not yet made public, said the issue of Starlink funding had been discussed in meetings and senior leaders were weighing the issue. No decision has been made.

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