Secretary of State Antony Blinken refused to mention Elon Musk when asked about reports that the tech CEO denied Ukrainians access to the Starlink network before a planned attack on Russian forces.
Blinken seemed to sidestep journalist Jake Tapper’s questions when he was pressed on if Musk should face repercussions for his rogue foray into foreign affairs during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.
The head of the State Department said he couldn’t speak to any “specific episode” but did call for Starlink’s satellite network to be “fully available” to the Ukrainian military and civilians.
Tapper pushed back on Blinken’s cautious response by asking the Secretary of State to address claims Musk spoke with senior Russian officials about denying Ukrainians’ emergency request for Starlink access.
“Really, none of this concerns you?” the CNN correspondent asked.
Again avoiding an opinion, Blinken said he couldn’t “speak to conversations that may or may not have happened” before returning to Starlink’s strategic importance to Ukraine.
“They’re now engaged in a critical counteroffensive,” he said. “And we’re doing everything we can to maximize our support for them, along with many other countries, so that they can be successful. Starlink is an important part of their success.”
CNN was the first to report on Musk’s private attempt at international diplomacy. Excerpts from Walter Isaacson’s forthcoming biography of the billionaire reveal Musk worried Ukraine’s plans to attack Russia’s Black Sea Fleet with sea-drones in the disputed region of Crimea could have triggered a “mini-Pearl Harbor.”
Addressing CNN’s report in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, he wrote, “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 conflict escalation.”
Prior to Blinken’s comments, a Pentagon spokesperson declined to comment on the matter but said, “The Department continues to work closely with commercial industry to ensure we have the right capabilities the Ukrainians need to defend themselves.”
Watch Antony Blinken’s full interview on CNN’s State of the Union below. Tapper’s question about Musk comes at the 4:20 mark.