Elon Musk refused Ukraine’s request to use Starlink in Crimea

Elon Musk reportedly disabled Starlink satellites that would have provided Ukrainians with internet access in Crimea, fearing that it might prompt Russian President Vladimir Putin to escalate the conflict there by using nuclear weapons.

Musk, who runs SpaceX, reportedly told Ian Bremmer of the risk consultancy Eurasia Group that he refused a demand from Ukraine’s defense ministry to make Starlink satellites available to soldiers in the field who are fighting to oust Russian troops from the peninsula that was annexed by the Kremlin in 2014.

Bremmer also claimed in an email to his subscribers, which was first reported by Insider, that he was told by Musk that the tech mogul personally met with Putin just days before he posted his own ideas for an eventual peace plan — among them recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea.

Putin is said to have communicated to Musk his country’s willingness to use nuclear weapons if Russian forces were chased from Crimea — a key region that Ukraine insists belongs to it.

Musk has taken to Twitter and denied Bremmer’s claims, tweeting: “I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago,” Musk tweeted. “The subject matter was space.”

The Kremlin, through a spokesperson, denied to Russian state-run media outlet RIA that Putin and Musk spoke to one another before Musk unveiled his peace proposals.

According to the RIA report cited by Insider, the Kremlin confirmed that Musk and Putin spoke by phone some 18 months ago, though there was no word as to what was discussed between the two men.

Bremmer tweeted on Tuesday that Musk “told me he had spoken with” Putin and the Kremlin “directly” about the situation in Ukraine.

Bremmer also claimed that Musk “also told me what” the Russians’ “red lines” were.

But Musk was dismissive of the claims, tweeting: “Nobody should trust Bremmer.”

Bremmer praised Musk, tweeting that he has “long admired” the Tesla chief “as a unique and world-changing entrepreneur” though he added “he’s not a geopolitics expert.”

He also tweeted that he “write[s] honestly without fear or favor and this week’s update was no different.”

Musk reportedly confided to Bremmer that Putin told the tech mogul he was “prepared to negotiate” a peace treaty that would see Russia maintain control over Crimea.

Putin also told Musk that the Kremlin would explicitly demand that Ukraine adopt a stance of neutrality and that Moscow’s annexations of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia be enforced and recognized, according to Insider.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *