SpaceX seems to regret helping Ukraine

After stepping up early in Russia's war against Ukrainian independence and supplying Ukraine with terminals and access to its StarLink satellite internet system, and looking like heroes, SpaceX has seemingly been uncomfortable with the Ukrainians actually using the system. SpaceX's chairman, petulant billionaire, and Twitter's chief of mismanagement, Elon Musk, has seemingly preferred Russia, had a spat with Ukraine's ambassador and threatened to end Ukraine's access to the service if someone else didn't pay for it.

Now we find out that SpaceX has limited Ukraine's ability to use StarLink in an offensive capacity, because it was sent to help with banking, schools, and getting emails to family members to tell them you are still alive — not to actually help Ukraine stay free.


"There are things that we can do to limit their ability to do that," Gwynne Shotwell told reporters on Wednesday, referencing reports on Starlink and drone use. "There are things that we can do, and have done."

Starlink was never meant to be used militarily in the way that it has, Shotwell argued, saying the company didn't foresee how profoundly – and creatively – Ukrainian forces would rely on the technology.

"That has affected every effort of the Ukrainians to push past that front," a person familiar with the outages told CNN in October. "Starlink is the main way units on the battlefield have to communicate."

After Musk received Ukrainian – and global – praise for quickly delivering Starlink capabilities to Ukraine, CNN obtained exclusive documents showing that SpaceX was trying to get the Pentagon to start paying for thousands of terminals, along with their expensive connectivity, for Ukraine's military and intelligence services. Thousands of units had also quietly been purchased by third countries for Ukraine.

One senior defense official told CNN that SpaceX had "the gall to look like heroes" while having others pay so much.