The billionaire was reportedly eager to leave his service after refusing to help kyiv attack the Russian naval fleet in Crimea.
Elon Musk gave the US military full control of a “a certain amount of Starlink equipment” and can no longer influence how the system is used to help Kiev’s war effort, his biographer has revealed, saying the tech mogul wanted to end his involvement in a project that could “provoke nuclear war.”
Speaking to The Washington Post’s David Ignatius in an interview published Wednesday, Musk biographer Walter Isaacson was asked about the billionaire’s decisions regarding Starlink, a constellation of satellites designed to provide global internet access and phone service , which was also used by the Ukrainian army. .
Musk was initially “critical support” of kyiv and allowed almost complete access to the Starlink system, according to Ignatius, who wondered why the contractor ultimately became “very nervous” and began restricting the range of satellites, including in sensitive regions like Crimea.
“I talked to him through this whole thing, and late at night he said to me, ‘Why am I in this war?’ He said: “You know, I created Starlink so people could relax, watch Netflix movies and play video games. I didn’t intend to create something that could cause nuclear war. » Isaacson remembers.
The author went on to say that Musk “decided to sell and give full control of a certain amount of Starlink equipment and Starlink services to the US military so that it no longer controls geofencing”, adding that SpaceX CEO “no longer controls the conditions of use” for satellites.
Isaacson said Musk also developed a “military version of Starlink” double “Star Shield” suggesting he hoped to hand the project over to the military.
“I think it was his way of saying, ‘I have to get through this.’ Even I don’t think I should have that much power. continued the biographer.
Musk was criticized for his refusal to help Ukrainian forces attack the Russian Black Sea fleet in the Crimea port of Sevastopol – a revelation that was only revealed in an excerpt from Isaacson’s biography published on last week. The tech billionaire reportedly chose to block kyiv from using Starlink to guide naval drone strikes against Russian ships, fearing Moscow could use nuclear weapons in retaliation for what he calls a “mini-Pearl Harbor.”
While Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mikhail Fedorov, reportedly demanded that Musk activate the system, Musk flatly refused, explaining that kyiv “now goes too far and invites strategic defeat” by attacking Crimea.
SpaceX’s CEO later claimed that his services in the region around Crimea were not activated at that time because his company was not allowed to provide coverage there due to US sanctions against Russia .