Ukraine slams Elon Musk for disrupting sneak attack on Russian fleet by allegedly shutting off his satellite
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A top aide to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has hit out at tech billionaire Elon Musk.
Musk had not activated a satellite in the Starlink network over Crimea, resulting in a planned attack on the Russian fleet being disrupted. Russia uses its fleet as a platform to fire Kalibr cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine, including Ukrainian cities.
The Starlink network could have provided support to Ukrainian armed forces as a communication tool, but the billionaire ultimately soured on his agreement. Disruption to that network meant that the attack was thwarted.
In an upcoming book, Musk said that Starlink was not intended to be used in war.
He said: “Starlink was not meant to be involved in wars. It was so people can watch Netflix and chill and get online for school and do good peaceful things, not drone strikes."
The revelation has seen Musk roundly condemned by Ukraine, with aide to President Zelenskyy Mykhailo Podolyak saying: “By not allowing Ukrainian drones to destroy part of the Russian military fleet via Starlink interference, Elon Musk allowed this fleet to fire Kalibr missiles at Ukrainian cities.
“As a result, civilians, children are being killed. This is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and big ego."
Musk had justified the decision, saying that he feared that the attack could be another Pearl Harbour and escalate to nuclear war.
There is one key historical difference there though, namely that Russia is committed to a full ground invasion of Ukraine, unlike the US when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour.
The billionaire added: “Both sides should agree to a truce. Every day that passes, more Ukrainian and Russian youth die to gain and lose small pieces of land, with borders barely changing. This is not worth their lives.”
Since the Russian invasion, allegations of war crimes have been coming out of Ukraine with a tragic regularity. A report from Human Rights Watch has said that they are investigating allegations including 'a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilians between February 27 and March 14, 2022'.
Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians."
These cases represent a drop in the ocean of allegations which have been levelled at Russia since the invasion began.