A tense feud between Elon Musk and Ukraine has boiled over after the tech billionaire mocked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s repeated pleas for wartime aid, triggering Kyiv to accuse the entrepreneur of having become a “tool of Moscow” by spreading its “propaganda.”
Musk’s SpaceX, the provider of the Starlink satellite communication services that help Ukraine’s defensive efforts to repel invading Russian troops, launched the first volley on October 2nd, when he superimposed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s face on a tense student with the caption……
“When it’s been 5 minutes and you haven’t asked for a billion dollars in aid.”
The Ukrainian parliament responding quickly using the same photo but with Musk’s face on the student’s body and a caption…..
“When it’s been 5 minutes and you haven’t spread Russian propaganda.”
The United States has been the largest single donor of aid to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, giving tens of billions of dollars in military and financial assistance.
However, over the weekend, aid for Ukraine was omitted from a stopgap funding measure passed by Congress to avert a U.S. government shutdown.
Zelenskiy last month appealed to his allies for more military support to push back Russia’s invasion during a trip to the United States.
Ukrainian officials have previously criticized Musk for suggesting they should consider giving up land for peace, a position that Kyiv has staunchly rejected.
Ukraine also reacted angrily to the revelation in September that Musk prevented a Ukrainian attack on a Russian Navy base last year by declining Kyiv’s request to activate Starlink satellites to open Internet access in the Black Sea near Moscow-occupied Crimea.
Starlink, operated by SpaceX, has proved a key battlefield tool for Kyiv. The service is a network of more than 2,000 satellites which was activatedin late February 2022 after Internet services were disrupted because of Russia’s invasion.
The Ukrainian military uses Starlink for broadband communications in the field and to help control a network of surveillance drones that is critical to monitor Russian troop concentrations and military movements.