Headline RoundupSeptember 8th, 2023

Musk Denied Ukraine Starlink Access for Planned Attack on Russian Fleet

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A new biography of tech billionaire Elon Musk states that last year, Musk “secretly told his engineers” to disable Starlink satellite coverage in a Ukrainian region, stifling a planned Ukrainian attack on a Russian fleet. 

Details: Ukrainian forces were reportedly planning to use submarine drones equipped with explosives to attack docked Russian ships at a naval base in Russian-occupied Crimea. Ukrainian forces rely on Starlink, one of Musk’s companies, to operate the drones. The biography states that “when the Ukrainian drone subs got near the Russian fleet in Sevastopol, they lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly.”

Key Quotes: Musk took to X, formerly Twitter, to refute the biography's depiction of the events. He stated, “There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol. The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor. If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.” Musk added, “The Starlink regions in question were not activated. SpaceX did not deactivate anything.” Musk called for both sides to agree to a truce, stating, “Every day that passes, more Ukrainian and Russian youth die to gain and lose small pieces of land, with borders barely changing. This is not worth their lives.”

How the Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum are highlighting how the reports reveal the extent of Musk’s ability to influence the war.

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