Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has slammed Elon Musk for indirectly allowing Russian forces to attack Ukrainian cities after it was revealed his Starlink satellite communications interfered with a drone operation.
In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Musk, which will be released on Tuesday, the incident’s specifics are described. The network cut off connections when Ukrainian drones approached Russian vessels, causing “lost connectivity,” according to the book. This occurred close to the shore of the Crimean peninsula, which is occupied by Russia.
According to Isaacson’s book, Musk allegedly told Starlink engineers to turn off communication because he worried Russian President Vladimir Putin might use nuclear weapons to retaliate against a Ukrainian invasion on Crimea.
In Musk’s words “I think if the Ukrainian attacks had succeeded in sinking the Russian fleet, it would have been like a mini Pearl Harbor and led to a major escalation.”
“We did not want to be a part of that.” He added.
Podolyak opted to criticize Musk on X, the social media site he owns, formerly known as Twitter. In his post, he claimed that by “not allowing” Ukrainian drones to attack Russian warships, Musk “allowed this fleet to fire Kalibr missiles at Ukrainian cities”—a move he claimed led to the deaths of people and children.
In February, he wrote: “A year of Ukrainian resistance & companies have to decide: Either they are on the side of Ukraine & the right to freedom, and don’t seek ways to do harm. Or they are on Russia’s side & its ‘right’ to kill & seize territories.”
SpaceX’s Starlink service, which boasts a fast-growing network of more than 4,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, has been used by Ukrainian troops for various efforts, including battlefield communications.
SpaceX, through private donations and under a separate contract with a United States foreign aid agency, has provided Ukrainians and the country’s military with Starlink since the beginning of the war in 2022.
Musk has already been charged with publishing Russian narratives, including those that advocate handing up occupied Ukrainian territory to Russia.
The European Commission also published a report that shows X, formerly known as Twitter, has played a significant role in spreading Russian propaganda.
Musk, in Isaacson’s book, criticized Starlink’s involvement in the conflict. “Starlink was not meant to be involved in wars. It was so people can watch Netflix and chill and get online for school and do good peaceful things, not drone strikes.”