At the end of October, 1,300 Starlink terminals ceased to function in the Ukrainian army. The reason is a lack of funding.
CNN reported this with reference to two sources familiar with the matter.
Yes, we are talking about the separation of stations that Ukraine bought from a British company in March and used in military operations. Ukrainians were forced to pay SpaceX $2,500 a month to connect each of its 1,300 terminals.
Therefore, the total cost of using these services rose to nearly $20 million by September. However, in the end, Ukraine could not pay for the operation of the stations.
Before the stations were completely closed, in early October, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense required the British to pay a monthly bill of $3.25 million. A British official told CNN that after discussions between ministries It was decided to give the highest priority to military capabilities..
“We are supporting a number of stations that are of direct tactical importance to the Ukrainian military in reversing the Russian invasion. We are reviewing all new requests and prioritizing them in terms of the impact that donations in support of Ukraine can have in protecting its people from Putin’s unfortunate invasion.”The official said.
How many stations are there in Ukraine?
In a letter in September, SpaceX told the Pentagon that Ukraine has nearly 20,000 Starlink stations. Most were purchased in whole or in part with external funding, including the governments of the United States, Poland and Great Britain. These sources also paid about 30% of the monthly bill, the letter said.
At the same time, Elon Musk said that there are more than 25,000 Starlink stations in Ukraine, but the monthly fee is paid for as little as 11,000.
As CNN notes, it is unknown exactly how many Starlink stations are used by the Ukrainian military. However, the publication believes that 1,300 offline stations are an important part. So, as of July, the Ukrainian army used about 4,000 terminals.
On October 14, Elon Musk said that his company SpaceX wants to give up funding for satellite Internet services in Ukraine, provided by Starlink stations. This was reported earlier by the media.
Instead, SpaceX has asked the Pentagon to take over funding for Starlink’s government and military use in Ukraine. According to the company, more than $120 million is needed to pay for services by the end of this year and about $400 million for next year.
CNN wrote that SpaceX’s request angered top Pentagon officials. A senior defense official said that Musk company “He has the nerve to pretend they’re heroes.”, when others pay too much. In addition, Ukrainian volunteers published receipts for payment for Internet services from Starlink.
Finally, after a wave of criticism, Musk said: “go to hell”. He also announced that he will continue to pay for Starlink services to Ukraine.
Subsequently, Politico wrote that Pentagon and European Union officials were discussing the possibility of funding Starlink satellite Internet services in Ukraine. But Elon Musk noted that his company had already withdrawn its request for funding.
Ukraine has found three sources of Starlink funding for the army – Reznikov