Elon Musk’s Starlink Cuts Off Ukrainian Drone Pilot During Attack on Russian Navy

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Elon Musk’s Starlink cutoff, hindering a Ukrainian military mission against a Russian frigate in Crimea, ignited debates on technology’s role in warfare.

An account provided by a Ukrainian drone pilot, reported by Ukrainska Pravda, shed light on the thwarted mission, revealing how the link to exploding sea drones was abruptly severed as they approached the Russian frigate, Admiral Makarov, near Sevastopol in occupied Crimea. 

The soldier ascribed the interruption in communication to Elon Musk’s choice of deactivating Starlink, the specific network that served as their means to oversee and manage the vessels.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, reportedly attempted to persuade Musk to restore access during the operation, but Musk did not relent. 

Consequently, the attack on Admiral Makarov failed, eventually becoming public knowledge when The Washington Post published details from Musk’s biography in September 2023.

Musk’s Starlink Termination near Crimea

elon musk's-starlink-cuts-off-ukrainian-drone-pilot-during-attack-on-russian-navy
Elon Musk’s Starlink cutoff, hindering a Ukrainian military mission against a Russian frigate in Crimea, ignited debates on technology’s role in warfare.

According to the biography excerpt, Musk ordered Starlink service termination within 100 kilometers of Crimea upon learning of the impending strike, fearing a potentially catastrophic event akin to mini Pearl Harbor that could escalate into a nuclear conflict.

However, Musk’s decision faced criticism, with some questioning whether his action potentially cost Ukrainian lives. When challenged by a Sky News reporter about the impact of his choice, Musk declined to respond.

Despite the disruption caused by Musk in 2022, Ukraine has subsequently carried out similar strikes on Russian warships in Crimea without utilizing Starlink. 

The war in Ukraine, marked by technological advancements and foreign support, hasn’t led to the feared escalation into a broader conflict or nuclear warfare, defying concerns voiced by observers.

The incident has brought to the forefront the ethical and strategic dilemmas associated with technology and its role in military operations, prompting discussions on the responsibility of tech leaders in global conflicts and the implications of their decisions on the ground.

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