Elon Musk and Ukraine
Table of Contents
Private space enterprises currently appear to surpass governmental capabilities by offering their owners technological and geopolitical influence (Tommasulo, 2022). Ever since the Russian-Ukrainian war began, the affluent billionaire, Elon Musk, offered his broadband internet Starlink satellites, which enabled him to exert significant geopolitical influence (Tommasulo, 2022). Despite Elon and SpaceX being hailed as heroes, recent developments have cast doubt on his position and involvement in this fight. Elon Musk has gained worldwide fame and provoked outbursts from the majority of Ukrainians as a result of his comments regarding the issue that he posted on Twitter. In light of the continuing debates concerning the war in Ukraine and Musk’s contribution, this analytical piece examines Elon’s political leaning, spanning his early support towards Ukraine to his latest pro-Russian tweets, which have enraged Ukrainian leaders and citizens in general.
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Elon Musk’s Support of Ukraine
Since the Russian incursion, Musk has provided Ukraine with several satellite communication terminals using SpaceX Starlink (Kramer, 2022). Those terminals have proven critical for Ukraine’s administration and the military in general, which employs them to communicate intelligence and perform drone assaults. For instance, the Starlink system has assisted in the distribution of broadband access to impoverished places worldwide, notably for Ukrainian forces using satellites on the battlefield to improve their operations (Kramer, 2022). Furthermore, as per sources, those satellites have been placed in various establishments such as government buildings, hospitals, and schools to help manage drones used to fight the advancing Russian military (Kramer, 2022). In addition, other people have used social media to provide timely updates on happenings nationwide.
Elon Musk’s Recent Controversial Tweet
However, in recent weeks, Musk has become a chaotic figure on the world political scene (Westfall & Ryan, 2022). The SpaceX CEO has strayed into the more dangerous geopolitical ground by making baffling suggestions to stop Russia’s incursion of Ukraine and resolve Taiwan’s sovereignty issues. Elon Musk asked Twitter followers whether residents of Crimea and the Donbas region should be given the option of choosing between Ukraine or Russia as part of a proposal for Ukraine-Russia reconciliation (Westfall & Ryan, 2022). He recommended that citizens of the areas Moscow had annexed should vote again. Presidents and diplomats expressed their displeasure with Elon Musk’s proposal that Crimea is recognized as a Russian region to prevent the Ukraine conflict from worsening (Westfall & Ryan, 2022). Having stated that, many of his Twitter followers, especially those from Ukraine, dubbed him a pro-Putin stooge forcing even Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, to blast him for his relationship with Russia.
In response to Musk’s contentious post, Volodymyr Zelenskyy also surveyed his followers, asking them whether they preferred the Elon Musk of the past—who backed Ukraine—or the present one—who favors Russia (Olinga, 2022). As anticipated, Ukrainians reacted quite negatively to Elon’s proposal. Even Elon Musk, in response, said that while he still fully supports Ukraine, he was worried about the harm that an escalation of the conflict might do (Olinga, 2022). Besides Ukraine’s President, other government representatives, namely Andrija Melnyk, responded strongly to Elon’s tweet asking him to “fuck off.” This latest controversy has indeed been built around a purported chat between Elon Musk and Vladimir Putin, a conversation Musk firmly categorically denied ever taking place (Olinga, 2022). Shortly after the claim was made, Musk organized a Twitter poll in which he offered a peace proposal to resolve the fight.
Nevertheless, Mr. Musk gave Ukraine further cause for concern when he appeared to be covering the cost of Starlink service by saying he might not continue to do so (Olinga, 2022). In reality, as per a document summarizing the expenses examined by an American-based newspaper, Britain, the USA, and Poland has already compensated SpaceX for some expenses incurred. As the reports surfaced, it was disclosed that the U. S. administration was considering sponsoring the operation under the Security Assistance Scheme (Olinga, 2022). Musk then took to Twitter to declare that SpaceX had withdrawn its financing request. Elon corrected his prior comments in that post, indicating that his company will continue to finance internet connectivity in Ukraine.
Although Musk continues to support Ukraine and defend his position, Elon’s most recent Twitter politicking has undoubtedly raised questions about his involvement in the conflict. Irrefutably, his notorious and contentious proposal tweet was a terrible idea. Amid this uproar, it was noteworthy that a few Ukrainians showed up and mentioned that they were covering the terminals plus membership costs individually or as a charitable organization that supports the Ukrainian military forces. It would therefore be misleading to imply that this controversy is close to being ended, given the commotion that Musk’s tweet has caused. However, the ongoing drama has illuminated the frailties of the system necessary to keep democracy alive. However, Starlink’s support for Ukraine is still unclear, given the assistance Ukraine has been receiving from other nations to keep the network operating.
- Tommasulo, N. (2022, March 20). Elon Musk is directly involved in the Ukraine war: Here’s how. The List. https://www.thelist.com/804587/elon-musk-is-directly-involved-in-the-ukraine-war-heres-how/
- Olinga, L. (2022, October 3). Elon Musk has a controversial idea to end war in Ukraine. TheStreet. https://www.thestreet.com/technology/elon-musk-has-a-controversial-plan-to-end-the-russia-ukraine-war
- Westfall, S., & Ryan, M. (2022, October 4). Elon Musk tweets ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine: Chaos ensues. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/10/03/elon-musk-twitter-poll-ukraine-russia-annexation-war/
- Kramer, M. (2022, November 1). Commercial satellites are the next front in Space War. Axios. https://www.axios.com/2022/11/01/starlink-ukraine-elon-musk-war-space