Recently, 27 foreign ministers representing countries in the European Union (EU) discussed Starlink services in Ukraine. They talked about funding Starlink to maintain telecommunications systems in Ukraine.
Gabrielius Landsbergis, the Foreign Minister of Lithuania, told Politico that the EU’s discussion about funding Starlink services in Ukraine is still in its early stages.
“I figured that it’s probably way better to have this as a contractual agreement between, let’s say, a coalition of countries that could purchase a service from Mr. Musk, the Starlink service, and provide it to the Ukrainians and keep on providing it to Ukrainians,” Landbergis noted.
The foreign minister of Lithuania also shared that several EU countries have shown interest in funding Starlink services in Ukraine.
Starlink Funds for Services in Ukraine
Last week, Elon Musk shared that SpaceX cannot continue to fund Starlink service in Ukraine indefinitely. He calculated that SpaceX was spending about $20 million per month to support Starlink services in Ukraine financially. He elaborated that Spacex pays for terminals, the creation of new satellites, satellite launches, and satellite maintenance. It also has to pay for ground stations and telcos to access internet via gateways.
SpaceX asked the Pentagon to pay for Starlink services in Ukraine and later withdrew its request for funding. Elon Musk decided to continue funding Starlink service for Ukraine. As of October 18, Musk shared that 26,300 terminals have been sent to Ukraine, and only 10,630 are paying for the service
Starlink Service funded by the EU
EU foreign ministers seem concerned about continued Starlink service in Ukraine since a reliable telecommunications system is crucial during the war with Russia. Putin has already admitted to targeting communication infrastructure in Ukraine. Starlink was instrumental in restoring connection to critical areas after 100 Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s energy and communications infrastructure.
Landsbergis expressed worries about Ukraine’s internet access being in the hands of a single person. He stated that Ukraine’s telecommunications should not be in the hands of a person who could “wake up one day and say, ‘This is no longer what I feel like doing, and this is it.”