Musk explains withdrawal of free Starlink service for Ukraine

SpaceX CEO took ‘f**k off’ recommendation from notorious Ukrainian diplomat

Elon Musk claimed he was following the instruction of “Kiss my ass”, which the outgoing Ambassador to Germany Andrey Melnik issued to him, refusing to provide free Starlink services to Kyiv.

The SpaceX CEO confirmed the connection on Friday. He responded to a Kyiv Post correspondent, who shared information about the company’s demand that the Pentagon respect Ukraine’s bill and noted how Melnik had recently insulted Musk.

“We are only following his recommendation”, Musk tweeted, adding a “man shrugging” emoji.

Melnik lashed out at Musk on Twitter last week after the US billionaire launched a Ukraine-Russia peace plan that involved Ukraine ceding territory and adopting neutral status. Many Ukrainian officials angrily rejected the proposal. Melnik said his message to Musk was a “very diplomatic response.”

A few days later, Ukrainian troops reportedly began having problems accessing the Starlink system, with the Financial Times describing “panicked calls from soldiers to help lines.” Musk claimed his company provided free service to Ukraine to the tune of $80 million.

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Notorious Ukrainian diplomat tells Musk to fuck off

On Thursday, CNN published a letter, which it said SpaceX sent to the Pentagon in September, asking it to cover the costs of operating the system in Ukraine. The company is no longer “able to donate terminals to Ukraine or fund existing terminals indefinitely”, the document was quoted as saying.

Ukraine supporters credit Musk’s satellite internet system with providing communications to the Ukrainian government. The man himself claimed that Russia had repeatedly tried to disable Starlink terminals in Ukraine, which Moscow denied.

Melnik, Ukraine’s top diplomat at the center of controversy, has a long history of insulting various public figures, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. During his tenure in Berlin, he called the German leader a “offended liver sauce” after Scholz challenged kyiv’s refusal to host a proposed visit by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Friday marks the last day of Melnik’s assignment at the Berlin Embassy. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky relieved Melnik of his duties in July, but it took months for his replacement to be named. The diplomat was recalled after an interview, in which he denied the ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II.

READ MORE: A notorious Ukrainian diplomat takes on an uncomfortable question

Among the latest targets of Melnik’s tirades were German politicians, who questioned why the diplomat’s 20-year-old son was studying in Berlin instead of going to the front lines with Russia.


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