EU plans to pay Elon Musk to continue supplying Starlink internet to Ukraine – POLITICO

EU plans to pay Elon Musk to continue supplying Starlink internet to Ukraine – POLITICO

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LUXEMBOURG — EU countries are discussing whether to contribute financially to ensure Ukrainians retain access to vital Starlink internet services currently being paid for by Tesla boss Elon Musk.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis unveiled the plans, which are at an early stage, in an interview with POLITICO on Monday.

The proposal follows warnings from Musk that his rocket company SpaceX could not continue to pay for Ukrainians to have access to Starlink internet services indefinitely, amid suggestions he wanted the US government to foot the bill. Musk, the world’s richest man, later changed his mind and said he would continue to fund the service.

But the scare has raised concerns about the security of Ukraine’s continued access to a crucial telecommunications system that has played a vital role in their counter-offensives against Russian troops in the occupied territories, as well as maintaining the connected civilian population.

Speaking to POLITICO, Landsbergis suggested that Ukraine’s internet access shouldn’t be left in the hands of a single “superpowered” person who might “wake up one day and say, ‘That’s not what I’m anymore. want to do and that’s it”. And the next day Ukrainians could be left without the Internet.

He continued: “I thought it was probably best to have this as a contractual agreement between, say, a coalition of countries that could buy a service from Mr. Musk, the Starlink service, and provide it to Ukrainians. and continue to supply it to the Ukrainians.

The subject was part of the discussions at the meeting of the 27 EU foreign ministers on Monday, according to Landsbergis. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell raised the topic, “and some countries have also joined”, the minister said, without specifying which countries. “If it happens in the EU, even better,” he said. “I don’t see why it couldn’t.”

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