SpaceX should choose between Ukraine and Russia - Ukrainian official

FILE PHOTO: Local residents use a Starlink terminal, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, Ukraine January 31, 2023. REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak/File Photo

KYIV (Reuters) - Elon Musk's SpaceX should choose sides between Ukraine and Russia, a senior Ukrainian official said on Thursday, after the company said it was curbing Kyiv's use of Starlink internet devices for controlling drones.

Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, said on Wednesday the Starlink service - which has provided Ukraine with broadband communications in its defence against Russian forces - was "never meant to be weaponized."

Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, criticised the decision on Twitter, another of billionaire Musk's companies.

"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," Podolyak wrote.

"SpaceX (Starlink) & Mrs. Shotwell should choose a specific option," he said.

Ukraine's military uses thousands of Starlink devices to communicate in the field. Some of the devices were provided by the company free of charge.

Despite the importance of Starlink for Kyiv, Podolyak has criticised Musk more than once since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He has dismissed ideas put forward by Musk for "exchang(ing) foreign territories for an illusory peace", and urged him not to "pessimize" Ukrainian official accounts of the conflict.

(Reporting by Max Hunder, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Chizu Nomiyama)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!


Next In Tech News

ChatGPT chats are not confidential, so don't tell it your secrets
Amazon connecting up devices in US homes into one giant wi-fi network
Elon Musk seeks to end $258 billion Dogecoin lawsuit
Rage-tweeting: When angry consumers seek 'revenge' for bad service
Apple VR headset coming? WWDC developer conference set for June 5
Apple wins reversal of $502 million VirnetX patent infringement verdict
E3 cancels 2023 event, leaving Los Angeles without a major gaming convention
U.S. lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to help news media negotiate with Big Tech
Activision threatened, spied on workers amid union drive, U.S. agency says
Twitter makes some of its source code public

Others Also Read