Blinken Dodges Questions about Musk and Ukraine

( – The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken danced around some questions recently about Elon Musk and SpaceX’s refusal to use their Starlink satellite system to enable internet access for Ukraine to conduct a drone strike against a Russian fleet.

During an appearance on the CNN show “State of the Union, Blinken was asked by host Jake Tapper about some excerpts from a new biography about Musk, which claims that the tech billionaire angered the Ukrainian government by ignoring their request to obtain internet access from Starlink in order to conduct an attack on the Russians in the Black Sea.

Blinken said he could not “speak to a specific episode” but that “Starlink has been a vital tool” for communication between Ukrainian forces in their counteroffensive efforts to defend their territory. The US government and Musk have feuded before over a lack of compensation for Musk providing Starlink access to Ukraine in the past.

Last week, Musk said he received “an emergency request” to grant internet access to the area extending all the way to the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. Musk said the “obvious intent” of the request was to “sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor” and that if he had agreed to the request, SpaceX would end up “complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

Walter Isaacson, author of the new biography simply titled Elon Musk, clarified after Musk’s comment the day after, claiming that the Ukrainian government initially thought that Starlink coverage already extended to Crimea and realized that was not the case, leading to “some erroneous reports” that access was totally cut off by Musk.

Tapper then pressed Blinken a bit, stating that “it sounds like” the satellite system is “so important” that the American government “doesn’t want to risk offending” Musk, whom Tapper called a “capricious billionaire. Blinken sidestepped the subtle insult.

Last week, Blinken visited Ukraine and announced a new aid package of $1 billion, as Americans remain divided over whether or not the US should continue funding the conflict.

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