Elon Musk, CEO of Space X, secretly instructed his employees to shut down Starlink satellites near the Crimean coast in 2022 to prevent Ukrainian military attacks on the Russian navy, American journalist Walter Isaacson claimed in his latest book.
According to the book, when Ukrainian unmanned underwater drones strapped with explosives approached the Russian fleet, "they lost communication and retreated without causing any damage”.
Musk secretly ordered SpaceX engineers to turn off the Starlink signal near Crimea, fearing that Russia could use nuclear weapons in response to what he described as a "mini Pearl Harbor".
Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov then asked Musk to switch the signal back on.
However, Musk did not agree with this and stated that Ukraine, by attacking Crimea, had gone too far and invited strategic defeat.
"Starlink was not designed to participate in wars. It was made for people to watch Netflix, connect to the internet at school, and do good peaceful things, not for drone attacks,” Musk said.
After Russia disrupted Ukraine's communications systems just before its full-scale invasion in February 2022, Musk agreed to provide Ukraine with the multi-million dollar SpaceX-built Starlink satellite terminals vital to Ukraine's military operations.
Even though mobile phone and internet networks were destroyed, Starlink terminals allowed Ukraine to fight and stay connected.