Elon Musk went on the defensive on social media after saying SpaceX could no longer pay for Starlink satellite service for Ukraine. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Tesla founder Elon Musk said Friday that SpaceX could not keep funding its Starlink satellites in Ukraine because the company is losing money.
Musk said he would no longer fund the Starlink service for Ukraine, later turning his ire toward a Ukrainian envoy who allegedly insulted him with vulgarities for proposing a peace plan to end the war that included ceding some Ukrainian territory to Russia.
But on Twitter, Musk suggested the decision was more of a financial matter.
"Starlink is still losing money," he said. "When asked what the goal of Starlink was at a space conference, I said 'not go bankrupt.'"
Musk alleged that Starlink terminals for Ukraine, a vital part in its defense arsenal against Russia, use 100 times more data than an average household and have already cost around $80 million.
That cost could hit $100 million by the end of the year. Bloomberg reported that Musk himself is worth upwards of $200 billion.
CNN was the first to report on Thursday that SpaceX told the Pentagon in a September letter that it could no longer fund the service for Ukraine.
"We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time," Starlink executives said in the letter.
SpaceX, CNN reported, had received a letter from the Ukrainian military in July for thousands more of the satellites.
Meanwhile, the news agency added that Starlink has suffered a series of outages recently just as Russian military forces up the ante following a series of battlefield setbacks.
"Starlink is the main way units on the battlefield have to communicate," an anonymous source was quoted as saying.
The news of financial constraints for Musk and SpaceX follows a series of breakthroughs for the Starlink service.
Japan on Tuesday became the first country in Asia to receive Internet access from the Starlink satellite system. A service map from Starlink shows most of central and northern Japan is now covered by the technology, including Tokyo. The rest of the country could see full coverage by the fourth quarter. South Korea, to Japan's west, is expected to get service early next year.
SpaceX broke its annual record with the completion of its 32nd successful launch in 2022 after sending 46 of its Starlink satellites to orbit in July. It completed 31 successful launches in all of 2021.