SpaceX has officially withdrawn its request made to the Pentagon to pay for Starlink services in Ukraine. CEO Elon Musk revealed his company’s change in stance in response to a report that said the Pentagon was considering funding the service in the war-torn country.
According to the report by Politico, the Pentagon was considering using a fund that has been used to supply weapons and equipment to Ukraine.
A separate report by CNN last week, citing sources familiar with the discussions, said the Pentagon had actually already agreed to fund Starlink with as much as $124 million for the remainder of the year.
SpaceX says it has spent upwards of $100 million since launching the satellite internet service in March.
The request to the Pentagon indicated that the company had fully funded about 15% to 20% of the terminals, and that it had paid for around 70% of the internet service for those terminals. Governments like those in the U.S. and the U.K. and Poland, paid for the remainder, in addition to private initiatives.
In revealing that the request had been withdrawn, Musk clarified that they have sent 25,300 Starlink terminals to Ukraine, but that less than half of those, 10,630, are paying for the service.
Over the weekend Musk tweeted “to hell with it,” saying SpaceX will continue paying for Starlink service in Ukraine even though it is still losing money in response to the CNN report.
To be precise, 25,300 terminals were sent to Ukraine, but, at present, only 10,630 are paying for service
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 17, 2022