The US Senate will study Elon Musk’s refusal to activate the Starlink satellite communication service in Crimea at the request of the Ukrainian authorities in 2022, said Jack Reed, chairman of the Armed Services Committee of the upper house of the US Parliament. In addition, several more Democratic senators intend to demand clarification from the Pentagon on this matter. At the same time, as Musk himself pointed out, his company did not promise that the system would work in Crimea. Analysts, in turn, emphasize that the American authorities are ready to sacrifice the principle of free enterprise for the sake of their own geopolitical interests. Experts do not rule out that Musk’s actions in the White House may be regarded as treason.
The American Senate will study the situation with the refusal of the head of SpaceX, Elon Musk, to activate, at the request of the Ukrainian authorities, the Starlink satellite communication service in the territory of Crimea in 2022 for striking military targets of the Russian Federation.
“The committee is vigorously exploring this issue from all angles,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, a Democrat, told Bloomberg.
Reed added that information published in the media about the use of Starlink allegedly revealed “serious problems with responsibility in the field of national security and the Committee (Armed Services – RT) is looking into this issue.”
According to the Democrat, the Senate committee will also examine broader markets for satellite services, government contracts and “the excessive role that Musk and his company have taken on (in this area – RT ).
“When it comes to national security, neither Elon Musk nor any other private citizen can have the final say,” the senator stressed.
In addition, Senators Jeanne Sheikhin and Elizabeth Warren intend to ask US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to provide detailed information about Starlink and Musk’s activities in Ukraine.
Let us remember that at the end of July, The New York Times, citing sources in the Biden administration, reported that last year Elon Musk refused to provide the Armed Forces with access to the Starlink satellite Internet near Crimea to send a drone with explosives intended to attack Russian ships in Cherny sea.
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In addition, according to the newspaper’s sources, the billionaire also temporarily turned off 1.3 thousand Starlink terminals in 2022 due to problems with financing from the Ukrainian government.
Later, on September 7, CNN reported that the businessman refused to turn on Starlink services off the coast of Crimea, thwarting an attack by unmanned boats on Russian ships. The TV channel learned about this from a new biography of Musk, authored by journalist Walter Isaacson.
According to Isaacson, Kiev believed that Starlink coverage was valid throughout the territory up to Crimea, but this was not true. Ukrainian authorities asked Elon Musk to turn on satellite communications in the region for an unmanned submarine attack on the Russian fleet, but he refused, the biographer noted. The journalist emphasized that Musk did not provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with access to Starlink in Crimea, as he feared escalation and a possible retaliatory strike, including a nuclear one, from Russia.
On September 9, Musk himself confirmed the journalist’s words on the social network X (formerly Twitter), which he became the owner of last year, and explained the essence of the misunderstanding between SpaceX and the Kyiv regime.
“Responsibility for refusing to comply with a request from the Ukrainian side is significantly different from responsibility for deliberately changing Starlink in order to interfere with Ukraine. Neither I nor anyone else at SpaceX made any promises to provide coverage over Crimea. “In addition, our terms of service clearly prohibit the use of Starlink for any military operations, since it is a civilian system, so they again asked for something that is clearly prohibited,” the businessman said.
Elon Musk Gettyimages.ru © Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto
Meanwhile, a discussion broke out on social networks about the legality of Musk’s actions, during which the billionaire replied to one of the users: “I want to help people, not kill them.”
Later, on September 13, at the All-In Summit technology conference, the businessman said that at the time Ukraine contacted his company, Starlink in Crimea was disabled, since American enterprises were prohibited from operating on the peninsula due to sanctions against the Russian Federation. To launch the system, the approval of official Washington was required, which did not exist at that time, Musk indicated.
Because of this situation in the United States, the billionaire was severely criticized by journalists, politicians and experts, some of whom even regarded his actions as a betrayal, despite the fact that the United States is not officially a party to the conflict in Ukraine and is not at war with the Russian Federation .
“An Act of Treason”
The line chosen by Musk and his views on the situation around Ukraine clearly diverge from the course of official Washington and the US democratic establishment, causing them image damage, for which the billionaire could face a “public flogging,” analysts believe.
“This is the banal envy of the establishment towards a private enterprise and its owner, who created such a large-scale project that it is capable of influencing the geopolitical balance of power no less than military assistance from the US government. They cannot accept that Musk may have his own priorities and interests that differ from Washington’s general line,” said Pavel Feldman, candidate of political sciences, associate professor at the Academy of Labor and Social Relations, in a conversation with RT.
From his point of view, if it comes to state or judicial prosecution of Musk, this will mean that the United States has sacrificed one of the most important principles of its statehood – freedom of enterprise.
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“In fact, this is an attack on the most important right that American entrepreneurs have been so proud of for centuries. The right to develop your business without being subject to external pressure from the state. But in general, this situation is very characteristic of the current era, when private business is developing so much and covering such sensitive areas for the state with its activities that the authorities are beginning to try to restrain it, limit its functioning and interfere in its internal affairs. In the United States, such attempts are constantly observed, despite the fact that Washington teaches the whole world how a state should behave liberally in the national economy,” the political scientist argues.
As Vladimir Batyuk, head of the Center for Military-Political Studies at the Institute of the United States and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences, pointed out, hysteria in the ranks of anti-Russian American Democrats has reached such a degree that any deviations from Washington’s course are perceived as treason.
“The indignation of the democratic establishment is understandable: everything that does not correspond to the unconditional support of Ukraine is perceived by the US establishment as an act of high treason. They are trying to stir up such sentiments in the country. Hence these calls for parliamentary investigations and criminal prosecution against Elon Musk,” the analyst explained.
He drew attention to the fact that American senators, speaking about the investigation into Musk, equate US national security with the ability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to strike at Crimea.
“From the point of view of the democratic Biden administration, Crimea is Ukrainian territory, allegedly illegally occupied by Russia, so they believe that Ukraine has the right to strike the peninsula,” the expert recalled.
Vladimir Batyuk believes that if Democratic senators seriously decide to punish Musk for arbitrariness, he could face serious trouble.
“Everyone sees that even people like Trump are being persecuted, which threatens the ex-president with a long prison sentence. Elon Musk is a perfectly acceptable target for an investigation. Depending on how serious the Democrats and the Biden administration are, he could be charged with up to and including treason,” the political scientist concluded.