I see that Elon Musk has had quite the day applying his overrated (lack of) intellect to trying to solve the problem posed by Russia’s 2014 invasion and 2022 re-invasion of Ukraine. Musk is what happens when you’re raised in wealth that is all accumulated from the slave labor that resulted from apartheid in South Africa. He’s not particularly smart, he’s not particularly gifted, he’s not actually an engineer. What he is is someone who was handed an emerald mine and all of its proceeds and profits as a toddler, continually failed upwards, and can’t even get it through his head that the one thing he’s sort of good at – being a promoter of the ideas of people that actually understand the tech they’re trying to build or develop or think up – is the only thing he’s sort of good at. And the minute he opens his mouth or decides to tweet, he does damage to the one thing he’s sort of good at and reinforces that he’s really a dumbfuck asshole.
When last we checked in on Mr. Musk in regard to Ukraine, he was doing a good job convincing both his gullibly, sycophantic fans on social media and the desperate for any help Ukrainians that he was donating large numbers of Starlink terminals to Ukraine and thereby serving as a tech angel coming to help them. That was a lie!
Everyone’s favorite nutbag investor turned Internet troll, Elon Musk, has decided that in addition to trying to remake Twitter in his own image for fun and profits, especially profits, that he’d try his hand at war profiteering. From The Washington Post:
Elon Musk’s SpaceX to dispatch their Starlink terminals to the region to boost Internet access. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk replied to broad online fanfare.
Since then, the company has cast the actions in part as a charitable gesture. “I’m proud that we were able to provide the terminals to folks in Ukraine,” SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said at a public event last month, later telling CNBC, “I don’t think the U.S. has given us any money to give terminals to the Ukraine.”
But according to documents obtained by The Technology 202, the U.S. federal government is in fact paying millions of dollars for a significant portion of the equipment and for the transportation costs to get it to Ukraine.
On Tuesday, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it has purchased more than 1,330 terminals from SpaceX to send to Ukraine, while the company donated nearly 3,670 terminals and the Internet service itself.
While the agency initially called it a “private sector donation valued at roughly $10 million,” it did not specify how much it is contributing for the equipment or for the cost of transportation. Sometime after the announcement, the agency removed key details from its release. It now states that USAID “has delivered 5,000 Starlink Terminals” to Ukraine “through a public-private partnership” with SpaceX but does not specify the quantity nor value of the donations.
USAID agreed to purchase closer to 1,500 standard Starlink terminals for $1,500 apiece and to pay an additional $800,000 for transportation costs, documents show, adding up to over $3 million in taxpayer dollars paid to SpaceX for the equipment sent to Ukraine.
In a letter to SpaceX last month outlining the deal, the USAID mission director to Ukraine said the terminals would be “procured” and sent on behalf of USAID by a third-party contractor, which would “arrange for transportation and delivery of the equipment” from Los Angeles International Airport to Ukraine via Poland.
The letter said the nearly 3,670 terminals donated by SpaceX would come with three months of “unlimited data.” In addition to the more than 1,330 terminals that USAID confirmed it had purchased, the agency earlier agreed to buy a separate 175 units from SpaceX, according to the documents.
On Thursday, USAID spokesperson Rebecca Chalif said in a statement that the “delivery of Starlink terminals were made possible by a range of stakeholders, whose combined contributions valued over $15 million and facilitated the procurement, international flights, ground transportation, and satellite Internet service of 5,000 Starlink terminals.”
The agency declined to answer questions about how much USAID funding is going toward buying and transporting equipment for Ukraine, referring them to SpaceX. SpaceX did not return a request for comment on the arrangement and the specific financials of the deal.
It is also unclear whether the price the U.S. government is paying for individual Starlink units matches their typical market price.
USAID is paying $1,500 for each standard terminal and the accompanying service, documents show. According to the Starlink website, a standard terminal set costs $600, while the monthly service charge costs $110, plus an additional $100 for shipping and handling.
According to The Verge, Starlink recently unveiled a separate premium service that prices the equipment at $2,500 and the monthly Internet charge at $500, but it remains unclear whether that is what Ukraine has received. SpaceX did not return a request for comment on the pricing.
The revelations show that while SpaceX appears to have donated a significant sum to Ukraine’s cause, it has done so with public assistance.
The United States and other countries have paid to send much of the known equipment to Ukraine. The transportation costs USAID has paid to ship the 5,000 terminals exceeds $800,000, according to the documents. French officials confirmed they also helped with transportation.
Much, much more at the link!
I’m a defense and intel contractor/consultant. I understand how this all works. I have no problem with Musk donating a bunch. I have no problem with him also then turning around and selling a bunch of them when the donated number was insufficient. What pisses me off, what is absolutely waste, fraud, and abuse, is the charging the US taxpayer almost three times the price for the units compared to what would have happened if the government had just ordered them at retail!
Which @elonmusk do you like more?
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 3, 2022
The sad truth is that Elon Musk never actually supported Ukraine. Elon Musk supported using Ukraine to line his own pockets at US tax payer expense while fluffing his immense, narcissistic ego with the praise of desperate people looking for any help they might possible get.
The best thing that could happen is that Musk goes to Ukraine to do his own research about the sham referendum, his escorts take him to the Donbas, and when he’s not paying attention they leave him there to his own devices.
The only thing worse than a tankie is a tankie that is also the world’s richest man!
This is the appropriate response to anything and everything that Musk says.
Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk
— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) October 3, 2022
President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier this evening – video and English transcript – after the jump!
Today, I will also begin my address with a message about what happened in Türkiye.
Finally, we managed to organize a meeting of our boys, commanders from “Azovstal”, with their relatives. The meeting is in Türkiye, where our warriors stay in accordance with the agreement on their release.
They are completely safe – with the guarantees of President of Türkiye Erdoğan. They are provided with proper conditions. And now they can see their relatives.
They have not seen each other for many months. And now I thank everyone who made it possible for them to be with their families again.
And we will do everything to make such a meeting possible for the families of all Ukrainians who are still in Russian captivity one day – a meeting with their relatives.
Ukraine appreciates people. Saves people. And helps all those who need help. These are fundamental rules for our state. And it will always be so.
A large group of our officials continues the work on providing the necessary assistance to all those released from Russian captivity. As you understand, there are a lot of issues. This is not only treatment and rehabilitation, but also a large volume of social issues, often legal. The state will certainly help solve all of them.
At the same time, everything is being done quite intensively at various levels of government to restore normal life in the areas liberated from the occupiers.
In total, these are more than 450 settlements in the Kharkiv region alone – those that were liberated thanks to the defense operation that began in September and is still ongoing.
The work of transport, post office, police, normal supply of water, gas, electricity is being restored – as much as possible. The occupiers left many mined areas, many tripwires, almost all infrastructure was destroyed. The damage is colossal.
But life is returning – it is returning wherever the occupiers were driven out. We also make social payments – pensions, salaries. In particular, to the teachers who remained loyal to Ukraine and did not switch to the curriculum of the occupiers.
This is actually very important. Russian propagandists intimidate people in the areas still under the control of the occupiers that Ukraine will allegedly consider almost everyone who remains in the occupied territory as collaborators. Absolute nonsense.
Our approach has always been and remains clear and fair. If a person did not serve the occupiers and did not betray Ukraine, then there is no reason to consider such a person a collaborator. These are elementary things. If the teacher remained a Ukrainian teacher and did not lie to the children about who is the enemy… Or if a person remained a Ukrainian employee of the Ukrainian utilities service and, for example, helped preserve the energy supply for people, then such a person cannot be blamed for anything.
Hundreds of thousands of our people were in the temporarily occupied territory. Many helped our military and special services. Many simply tried to survive and waited for the return of the Ukrainian flag.
Of course, there were those who betrayed Ukraine. But such cases are quickly established by the Security Service of Ukraine and are not massive. Russia did not meet mass support in Ukraine, and this is a fact.
Today, the offensive movement of our army and all our defenders continued. There are new liberated settlements in several regions.
Fierce fighting continues in many areas of the front. But the perspective of these hostilities remains obvious – more and more occupiers are trying to escape, more and more losses are being inflicted on the enemy army, and there is a growing understanding that Russia made a mistake by starting a war against Ukraine.
Of course, there are many fanatics out there. Those who will never admit the obvious, that this is a pointless war for Russia that Russia cannot win. Because it is impossible to defeat a nation that preserves unity and knows what they are fighting for.
The same cannot be said about the people of Russia as about the Ukrainian people. None of those who are now being sent to war after criminal mobilization will be able to explain: what is the point of this for him personally? Why should he risk his life?
Among the dead occupiers we can already see those who were taken just a week or two ago. People were not trained for combat, they have no experience to fight in such a war. But the Russian command just needs some people – any kind – to replace the dead. And when these new ones die, more people will be sent. This is how Russia fights. That’s how it will lose as well.
No sham referenda, announcements about annexations, conversations about the borders they invented and drew somewhere, will help them.
There is a clear and internationally recognized border of Ukraine. There are lives we must protect. There is security we must restore. And all this will happen. We are doing all this.
And one more thing.
Today, Russia was ultimately removed from decision-making in world aviation. There will be no more representatives of the terrorist state in the governing body – the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. This is a crucially important world institution, a specialized agency of the UN, and this is a quite eloquent signal to all other international organizations.
A state that has violated so many norms of international law cannot be kept in any international organizations as a supposedly normal participant. Russia has no place in the global community.
I thank everyone who helps us defend freedom!
Glory to all who fight for Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!
The Azovstal Commanders have reunited with their loved ones in Istanbul 💔 pic.twitter.com/2HIYqer8RB
— Illia Ponomarenko (@IAPonomarenko) October 3, 2022
Here is the British MOD’s assessment for today:
And here’s their updated map for today:
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessments regarding the situations in Izium and Kherson:
IZIUM AXIS / 1320 UTC 3 OCT/ Offensive continues. UKR liberates P-79 HWY junction town at Borova. RU Lines of Communication and Supply (LOCS) are now under Ukrainian precision strike artillery, severely limiting RU reinforcement and maneuver options. pic.twitter.com/RVl6b1xcko
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) October 3, 2022
KHERSON /1330 UTC 3 OCT/ The UKR breakthrough on the T-04-03 is confirmed to have reached Dudchny. RU units are now repositioning to meet this thrust. UKR will be quick to take advantage of the withdrawal of RU defenders at any point along the contact line. pic.twitter.com/5HIjTYMTEg
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) October 3, 2022
Others have noted this, but it bears repeating: these offensives don't enjoy the surprise that the Kharkiv one last month did. Here, the Russians know what is coming, and the Ukrainian army is solidly defeating them day after day. Hard to see how the bleeding stops.
— Neil Hauer (@NeilPHauer) October 3, 2022
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) October 3, 2022
Recently, in response to a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the ambassador of Iran stated that his country has not supplied drones to russia.
Here is the Iranian drone Qods Mohajer-6, which was launched to coordinate an attack on Odesa a few days ago. pic.twitter.com/C5Ep0kj7GZ
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) October 3, 2022
And here’s more on the Iranian drone that the Ukrainians captured:
We can also see how the UAV was armed: it was still carrying at least one Iranian Ghaem-5 guided bomb with a TV Seeker and HE-AS warhead (Presumably, high-explosive anti-structure with 8.5kg of explosives).
In this condition, the UAV and PGMs attached are ripe for exploitation. pic.twitter.com/GTFYg2fo3w
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) October 3, 2022
This would’ve been very, very bad!
The russians laid 175 kg of TNT and 68 anti-tank mines next to the dam in the village of Velyki Prohody, #Kharkiv region.The total TNT equivalent is about 650kg. If an explosion had occurred,its consequences would have been catastrophic,all nearby villages would have been flooded pic.twitter.com/0jd3ztOLKY
— Iryna Voichuk🇺🇦 (@irmachep) October 2, 2022
The Russians have been caught stealing and trying to resell Ukrainian grain! AP has the details:
BEIRUT (AP) — When the bulk cargo ship Laodicea docked in Lebanon last summer, Ukrainian diplomats said the vessel was carrying grain stolen by Russia and urged Lebanese officials to impound the ship.
Moscow called the allegation “false and baseless,” and Lebanon’s prosecutor general sided with the Kremlin and declared that the 10,000 tons of barley and wheat flour wasn’t stolen and allowed the ship to unload.
But an investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” has found the Laodicea, owned by Syria, is part of a sophisticated Russian-run smuggling operation that has used falsified manifests and seaborne subterfuge to steal Ukrainian grain worth at least $530 million — cash that has helped feed President Vladimir Putin’s war machine.
AP used satellite imagery and marine radio transponder data to track three dozen ships making more than 50 voyages carrying grain from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine to ports in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and other countries. Reporters reviewed shipping manifests, searched social media posts, and interviewed farmers, shippers and corporate officials to uncover the details of the massive smuggling operation.
The ongoing theft, which legal experts say is a potential war crime, is being carried out by wealthy businessmen and state-owned companies in Russia and Syria, some of them already facing financial sanctions from the United States and European Union.
Meanwhile, the Russian military has attacked farms, grain silos and shipping facilities still under Ukrainian control with artillery and air strikes, destroying food, driving up prices and reducing the flow of grain from a country long known as the breadbasket of Europe.
The Russians “have an absolute obligation to ensure that civilians are cared for and to not deprive them their ability of a livelihood and an ability to feed themselves,” said David Crane, a veteran prosecutor who has been involved in numerous international war crime investigations. “It’s just pure pillaging and looting, and that is also an actionable offense under international military law.”
The grain and flour carried by the 138-meter-long (453 feet) Laodicea likely started its journey in the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, which Russia seized in the early days of the war.
Video posted to social media on July 9 shows a train pulling up to the Melitopol Elevator, a massive grain storage facility, with green hopper cars marked with the name of the Russian company Agro-Fregat LLC in big yellow letters, along with a logo in the shape of a spike of wheat.
Russian occupation official Andrey Siguta held a news conference at the depot the following week where he said the grain would “provide food security” for Russia-controlled regions in Ukraine, and that his administration would “evaluate the harvest and determine how much will be for sale.”
As he spoke, a masked soldier armed with an assault rifle stood guard as trucks unloaded wheat at the facility to be milled. Workers loaded flour into large white bags like those delivered by the Laodicea to Lebanon three weeks later.
Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov told AP the occupiers are moving vast quantities of grain from the region by train and truck to ports in Russia and Crimea, a strategic Ukrainian peninsula that Russia has occupied since 2014. Despite Russian claims to have annexed Crimea, the United Nations ruled that land grab was also illegal.
More at the link!
Locals greet Ukrainian fighters in recently liberated Lyman.
They've been waiting for so long 💔 pic.twitter.com/07KdF2BkR0
— Saint Javelin (@saintjavelin) October 3, 2022
That’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron!
So many polls today. And like last week's «referendum», absolutely nothing will be legally decided with their help 🤭And even like this stick: it was nice to hang out with it, but after 5 minutes it is no longer interesting 🙃 pic.twitter.com/GY25GR73fm
— Patron (@PatronDsns) October 3, 2022
There’s no shade like Patron shade!
And finally, a new video from Patron’s official TikTok!
The caption translates as:
I wanted to catch the tail, I almost flew off! 🌪🌪🌪 #PatrontheDog #PatronDSNS
Just a reminder, I’m not going to be around tomorrow – Tuesday – night, nor Wednesday as well because of Yom Kippur. The nightly updates will resume on Thursday evening. There will be a two part guest post by Carlo Graziano about trains. It may just be his summer vacation on Amtrack travelogue, but you’ll have to tune in to find out…