The Subsidy King Is Back: Elon Musk Asks Pentagon to Pay for Starlink Internet in Ukraine

Elon Musk grins

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is telling the U.S. government that it can no longer pay for Starlink terminals to help Ukraine’s war effort, and is asking that the Department of Defense to pick up the tab to the tune of $124 million — just to cover service through the end of 2022.

SpaceX says it has spent almost $100 million, and is “not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” according to a report by CNN.

Therefore, the company is now requesting that the Pentagon foot the bill, which would be $124 million for the rest of 2022, and would translate to close to $400 million for the next year.

“SpaceX is not asking to recoup past expenses, but also cannot fund the existing system indefinitely *and* send several thousand more terminals that have data usage up to 100X greater than typical households. This is unreasonable,” Musk said in a tweet on Friday.

In another post, Musk added that SpaceX is losing $20 million a month on Starlink.

“In addition to terminals, we have to create, launch, maintain & replenish satellites & ground stations & pay telcos for access to Internet via gateways,” the SpaceX CEO said.

“We’ve also had to defend against cyberattacks & jamming, which are getting harder,” Musk added. “Burn is approaching ~$20M/month.”

After Kyiv Post correspondent Jason Jay Smart noted that SpaceX saying it can no longer afford to give Ukraine free service comes after Ukrainian Ambassador Andrij Melnyk told Musk to “fuck off,” Musk said, “We’re just following his recommendation.”

Melnyk had reportedly told Musk to “fuck off” after the Tesla CEO was criticized for posting a poll that suggested Ukraine should surrender Crimea to Russia, and give up other regions if residents vote in favor of it.

The roughly 20,000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine have provided infrastructure for communication, flying drones, and artillery targeting in its war against Russia.

Musk is no stranger to receiving government subsidies, at both the federal and state level.

As Breitbart News previously reported, “Tesla, which makes electric cars, struck a deal with Nevada in 2014 to build a battery factory in Reno. The state gave Tesla $1.3 billion in special incentives, including an exemption from paying property taxes for 20 years and $195 million in transferable tax credits Tesla could sell for cash.”

That comes to 15 times the size of any previous package of incentives offered by Nevada and one of the largest giveaways in American history.

Moreover, laws in 10 states require car companies operating in those states to sell a certain number of “zero emissions” vehicles. Since only electric cars qualify as “zero emissions” vehicles, these companies buy these tax credits from Musk. So far, Musk has made $517 million in profit at taxpayer expense.

Additionally, Tesla received a 30 percent federal tax credit, which can be applied to any tax liability the company may experience.

“Thanks to tax credits and carry-forward losses, the company already hasn’t paid any federal income tax since 2008,” Breitbart News reports, adding that in 2014, Tesla “paid $2.5 million in corporate taxes — $178,000 to the states, $2.35 million to foreign governments and a big fat zippy to Uncle Sam.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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