Elon Musk, head of Tesla and SpaceX, was threatened by Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s space agency, over providing internet access to Ukraine by way of his Starlink satellites.
The billionaire, famous for his active social media presence, posted Tweets regarding the situation on Monday, including Rogozin’s threats.
He later wrote: “If I die under mysterious circumstances, it’s been nice knowin ya.”
In his threat, Rogozin claimed that Musk was providing internet access to the Azov Battalion, a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard that many claim is linked to the far-right.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2022
Elon Musk becomes target of threats after providing internet to Ukraine
“From the testimony of the captured chief of staff of the 36th Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Dmitry Kormyankov, it follows that the ground-based subscriber equipment of the Starlink satellite company [of] Elon Musk was delivered to the militants of the Nazi Azov Battalion and the Marines of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to Mariupol by military helicopters,” he wrote.
“Elon Musk is thus involved with supplying the fascist forces in Ukraine with military communications…And for this you will have to answer in an adult way, Elon, no matter how much you’ll play the fool,” Rogozin continued.
In reality, Musk and his employees have been working tirelessly to maintain internet connectivity in Ukraine despite countless attempts by Russian forces to cause a blackout in the country.
Internet connection is essential for many Ukrainians still in the country to maintain contact with family and friends outside of the country, as well as for the flow of reliable information out of the country.
Additionally, the Ukrainian military uses the internet connection provided by Starlink satellites to track attacks from Russian forces.
Russian space agency head known for threatening posts
The head of Roscosmos is famous for his threatening language regarding anyone he perceives to be critical of Russia.
He posted negative videos and statements on his social media accounts directed at the US after the country condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
One of the videos Rogozin posted seemed to state that Russian astronauts would abandon Mark Vande Hei, a NASA astronaut staying in the International Space Station, in space. Vande Hei later safely returned to Earth with Russian cosmonauts as planned.
This is not the first time Musk has been a target of Rogozin, who called the Tesla CEO a “little devil” in the earliest days of the war in Ukraine.
The Starlink project involves a fleet of flat-paneled broadband satellites flying over the Earth, which then beam down internet coverage to users who can access the service via a compact user terminal.
Nearly 2,000 SpaceX satellites have already been launched as part of Musks’ Starlink network, and the company hopes to send out around 10,000 more in the future.