The United States Department of Defense received a request from the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk, to take over the financing of its satellite network, which has provided crucial communications for the Ukrainian armed forces almost since the start of the war with Russia, US officials said Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity so he could comment on a sensitive matter that has not been made public, said the issue has been discussed in meetings and is being weighed by senior officials. No decisions have been made.

In a statement released later, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said: “We can confirm that the department received correspondence from SpaceX regarding the funding of Starlink, its satellite communications product in Ukraine. We remain in communication with SpaceX on this and other matters.”

During a Pentagon briefing, he declined to provide details about the communications or to say who the correspondence was sent to and when talks with Musk began.

Musk began shipping Starlink satellite dishes to Ukraine just days after the Russian invasion in February. On the 28th of that month, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted a photo of the first Starlink packages arriving in the back of a truck.

“You’re welcome, with all pleasure,” Musk replied on Twitter. Musk’s generosity was hailed by the Ukrainians and considered a turning point in war tactics: the Russians could try to cut off Ukrainian ground communications, but they could not control space.

The Starlink system, with more than 2,200 satellites in low orbit, has provided broadband internet to more than 150,000 ground stations in Ukraine. On Friday morning, Musk tweeted that it was costing SpaceX $20 million a month to support Ukraine’s communications needs.

Apart from the terminals, Musk tweeted that the company has to create, launch, maintain and resupply satellites and ground stations.

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