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Musk biographer tries to ‘clarify’ details on Starlink in Ukraine after outcry

by editor

Elon Musk biographer Walter Isaacson took to social media to try to “clarify” an excerpt in his upcoming book that detailed how Musk purportedly thwarted a planned Ukrainian drone strike.

The extract, which describes how Musk told his engineers to disable Starlink satellite communications near Russian-occupied Crimea last year to frustrate an attack on Russian warships, had faced fierce backlash since being published on Thursday.

“The Ukrainians THOUGHT coverage was enabled all the way to Crimea, but it was not,” Isaacson said in a post on Saturday. Instead, he said, military officials asked the billionaire entrepreneur to enable coverage for the drone attack. “Musk did not enable it, because he thought, probably correctly, that would cause a major war,” the author added.

But the original excerpt published in the Washington Post said that Musk “secretly told his engineers to turn off coverage within 100 kilometers of the Crimean coast,” causing Ukraine’s drone subs to “lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Musk’s decision allowed the Russian fleet to attack Ukrainian cities. “This is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and big ego,” he said in a social media post on Thursday. Russian officials, meanwhile, praised the move.

The supposed sabotage happened just as relations started cooling between Ukrainian forces and Musk, who had been helping keep Ukraine online since the beginning of Russia’s invasion through his Starlink satellites. Musk, fearing the conflict could become another world war, had started restricting the Ukrainian military’s use of Starlink in Russian-controlled regions and for drone control.

Isaacson’s biography “Elon Musk” is set to be released on September 12.

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