Elon Musk Rejects Astronaut Scott Kelly’s Ukraine Demands – ‘We Will Not Enable WW3’

Elon Musk is refusing a request from ex-astronaut Scott Kelly to use his Starlink internet system to support Ukrainian military operations. Shortly after the start of the war, Musk’s company SpaceX allowed Ukraine to freely use its satellite internet technology, but recently took steps to limit its functionality after discovering Ukrainian armed forces were using it offensively. Musk said he would not allow his technology to be used in a way that might risk World War Three.

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“@ElonMusk, Ukraine desperately needs your continued support,” Scott Kelly tweeted on Sunday. “Please restore the full functionality of your Starlink satellites. Defense from a genocidal invasion is not an offensive capability. It’s survival. Innocent lives will be lost. You can help. Thank you.”

Kelly, the brother of Democrat Senator Mark Kelly, echoed the criticism facing Musk and SpaceX for the company’s recent decision to scale back Starlink service. Musk, however, wasn’t tolerating it and reminded the astronaut of SpaceX’s contributions in Ukraine.

“You’re smart enough not to swallow media & other propaganda bs,” the CEO fired back. “Starlink is the communication backbone of Ukraine, especially at the front lines, where almost all other Internet connectivity has been destroyed. But we will not enable escalation of conflict that may lead to WW3.”

SpaceX scaled back its Starlink services last week after it was revealed that the Ukrainian military was using the tech to conduct artillery and drone strikes against Russian positions. The company’s president, Gwynne Shotwell, told reporters on Wednesday, “It was never intended to be weaponized, however, Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement.”

Shotwell clarified that while it was okay for the military to use them for communications, it was not SpaceX’s intent “to have them use it for offensive purposes.”

According to the satellite system’s terms of service, “Starlink is not designed or intended for use with or in offensive or defensive weaponry or other comparable end-uses.”

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Starlink systems have been provided to Ukraine free of charge since the start of the Russian invasion. The network has been used to protect Ukrainians’ internet access. Ukrainian banks and hospitals alike rely on Starlink to function. Restrictions on direct military use have been the only stipulation attached to an otherwise generous aid contribution to the country.

“SpaceX commercial terminals, like other commercial products, are meant for private use, not military,” Musk said in response to one of his supporters on Twitter. “But we have not exercised our right to turn them off. We’re trying hard to do the right thing, where the ‘right thing’ is an extremely difficult moral question.”

Musk previously drew fire in October when he suggested on Twitter that Ukraine agree to a peace deal with Russia that included ceding occupied territory.

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The Starlink network includes over 2,200 low-orbiting satellites. With energy and communications infrastructure devastated by Russian attacks, Starlink has become the only thing standing between the Ukrainian people and a massive comms blackout.

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