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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Musk clarifies position on Ukraine funding

Kiev should be transparent about how it spends US taxpayer money, the billionaire has argued

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has outlined his position on continued US funding for Ukraine, stating on Tuesday that Kiev should give Washington “proper accounting of how it is used and a plan to resolve the conflict.”

Responding to a claim that he wanted Kiev completely cut off from American aid, Musk wrote on his X platform that he is “not calling for an immediate end to all funding to Ukraine.”

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Musk added that “funding should be contingent on proper accounting of how it is used and a plan to resolve the conflict.”

The world’s richest man has shifted his position on Ukraine several times since the conflict began in early 2022. Musk initially supplied Ukraine with free Starlink internet terminals and access to the satellite-based network, but declined to activate the service near Crimea for fear that Ukraine would use it to guide drone attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. If this had happened, he explained last year, SpaceX would have been “complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

Musk has since leased the Starlink network to the Pentagon for military purposes.

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Musk has also used his X account to speak extensively about the trajectory of the conflict. More than a year ago, he proposed that Kiev abandon its claim to Crimea, declare neutrality, and allow the four new Russian regions – Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye – to hold fresh referendums on joining the Russian Federation. This proposal is similar to the terms offered by Russia to Kiev and the Western powers before the conflict began, except Moscow initially called only for autonomy in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Musk has accused top US officials – most notably former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, known for fomenting the 2014 Maidan coup in Kiev – of “pushing this war.” More recently, he argued that sanctions on Russia have harmed the West more than Moscow, and declared that with Ukraine growing “weaker by the day,” a peace deal “should have been done a year ago.”

The US has already spent more than $110 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. With this aid money dried up, the White House is currently pushing Congress to pass a foreign aid bill that includes another $60 billion in military aid for Kiev. However, the bill has been stalled by Republicans in the House of Representatives, who want it tied to increased funding for US border security and a tightening of immigration law.

With Congress currently in recess, the bill will remain in limbo until April at the earliest.