Musk leaked secret correspondence with Fedorov about drones in Crimea. Fedorov reacted – Ukrainian news, Politics


Businessman Elon Musk gave his biographer confidential messages from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mikhail Fedorov without asking for permission. The correspondence talks about an episode when an entrepreneur limited the Starlink Internet service in order to prevent the Ukrainian military from striking the occupied Crimea. Fedorov spoke about this in an interview Financial Times. He subsequently authorized the publication of the correspondence in a new book.

According to the official, he was not aware that Walter Isaacson received and published the message in a biography of Musk, written with the full cooperation of the billionaire.

β€œThis is not very nice. I have never shown or talked about our correspondence publicly,” Fedorov reacted.

In the book, Isaacson recounts how Musk intervened to cut off Ukrainian military access to Starlink internet in late September 2022 in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

Musk’s intervention thwarted a covert attack by Ukrainian naval drones on the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, in occupied Crimea, the book says.

A few hours before the publication of this excerpt in the Washington Post, Musk responded and said that if the operation were successful, his company SpaceX would become β€œa clear accomplice to a major war and escalation of conflict.”

β€œThere was an urgent request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol. The obvious intention is to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor. If I agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be a clear accomplice to a big war and escalation of the conflict,” the businessman wrote.

There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol.

The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor.

If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and…

β€” Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 7, 2023

Musk’s biography and Isaacson’s Washington Post column include text message exchanges in which Fedorov asks Musk to restore Starlink communications for Ukrainian forces.

β€œI understand why he published this, because I tell him how great he is and that he must save humanity,” the head of the Ministry of Digital Development responded to the publication.

Read also: The Pentagon will purchase Starlink terminals for Ukraine, which Musk will not be able to turn off – NYT

The FT writes that Fedorov was shocked when he was shown the Washington Post article, but noted that since the exchange of messages was already a year ago, their publication was “unlikely to have operational consequences.”

Following media reports in October 2022 about Starlink outages in Ukraine, Musk agreed to resume its operation for Ukrainian forces operating near the occupiers.

Fedorov said that Musk β€œhimself told” him that he turned off Starlink on the front line in southeastern Ukraine when the head of the Ministry of Digital Development β€œasked him to actually turn on communications in Crimea and to the borders [Π£ΠΊΡ€Π°ΠΈΠ½Ρ‹ 1991 Π³ΠΎΠ΄Π°. – FT]”.

The official added: “When [Маск] turned it on, then wrote that it was turned on again.”

β€œI think: if he had not done this, it would have been a disaster, we simply could not fight like this if he had not done this,” Fedorov noted.

He admitted to having “long and frequent conversations” via text messages with Musk after the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation.

In particular, after Musk’s post on Twitter, which the official perceived as supporting dictator Vladimir Putin, Fedorov wrote a message to Musk: β€œI explained to him that he was wrong, that we seem to be fighting for our independence there.”

Probably, we are talking about Musk’s message, in which he invited subscribers to vote: whether Ukraine should abandon Crimea in favor of Russia and not join NATO.

The FT notes that the shutdown of Starlink occurred at a decisive moment in Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the fall of 2022, when the military had β€œmomentum on its side” after the liberation of the occupied territory in the Kharkiv region and tried to retake land in the direction of Crimea.

After the publication of FT Fedorov informed on Twitter, which allows the publication of his correspondence with Musk in a new book about the businessman.

I officially give permission to publish my texting history with @elonmusk in a new book about him ?? Honestly, I’m looking forward to the book.

β€” Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) September 8, 2023

  • An excerpt from Musk’s biography says that in 2022 he ordered the shutdown of the Starlink satellite communications network off the coast of Crimea to disrupt an attack that Ukraine was preparing against the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
  • Musk clarified that he did not turn off Starlink satellite communications for kamikaze drones of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Black Sea, but refused to turn it on there at the request of Ukraine.
  • The Washington Post reported the details of this episode: the failure of the operation resulted in the Russian occupiers seizing unharmed examples of Ukrainian naval drones.

Read also: Musk personally spoke with Putin before publishing his β€œpeace plan” – New Yorker

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