European Union investigating possible financing of Starlink in Ukraine

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The European Union is investigating the possibility of paying SpaceX for Starlink services in Ukraine. The EU would not want internet access in the country “reliant on an individual, super-powered person” to shut down the network.

The plans are still in an early exploratory phase. That says Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in an interview with Politico. The plan is said to have been suggested by Josep Borrell, the Vice-President of the European Commission and the European Union’s Foreign Coordinator. Details about the specific plans are not yet available; Borrell is said to have discussed this in a recent meeting with foreign ministers from the Union. Several countries are said to have responded with interest to the idea, but it is not clear which countries are involved. The plan seems to be too early to talk about costs.

According to Lithuanian Landsbergis, European Union countries are said to be discussing whether to contribute financially to Starlink services in Ukraine. SpaceX’s internet satellites are currently being used there as an alternative to the normal internet, which is unstable or often not working at all due to the Russian invasion. In April it became clear that the connections play an important role in the war.

However, SpaceX founder Elon Musk has speculated in recent days that he no longer wants to offer the service for free in the country. That still happens. Musk requested a financial contribution from the US Department of Defense in September. Musk, the richest man in the world, says he can no longer afford the costs. Musk later changed his mind in a tweet and said he would go ahead with the funding anyway.

According to Landsbergis, the European Union does not want Ukraine’s internet “in the hands of an individual super-powerful person who may wake up one day and decide that this is no longer what he wants.” Ukraine could simply end up without internet. “I think it is better to put this decision in a contract between a coalition of countries that can purchase a service from Musk and give it to Ukraine,” the minister said.

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