Frosty glare between Elon Musk and Ukraine’s chief after Starlink satellite row

Elon Musk and a top Ukrainian official have been seen trading stern glares at a meeting in London today.

The billionaire owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attended the UK’s AI Safety Summit today alongside Georgii Dubynskyi, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Digital Transformation.

As representatives of multiple countries and organisations discussed the potential pitfalls of automated intelligence, the two were caught meeting on the sidelines.

Photographers captured the two locked in what appeared to be a frosty staring match earlier this afternoon.

Their chance meeting came just two months after it was revealed the Starlink owner had refused to allow Ukraine to use his company’s proprietary satellites to coordinate what could have been a pivotal operation.

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The photo captured of the two appeared to show the two locked in a standoff as other summit attendees gathered around them.

But, additional pictures show that, despite what appeared to be glowering stares, there was no ill-will between them.

Another photo from the event showed the moment Mr Dubynskyi pulled Mr Musk aside for a photo, with the Tesla CEO seen beaming from ear-to-ear and the Ukrainian official smiling alongside him.

Ukraine’s leaders had previously condemned the businessman following revelations in a recent biography that he scuppered the country’s access to his Starlink satellite network.

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A new biography of Mr Musk released in early September by historian Walter Isaacson claimed that the entrepreneur sabotaged a Ukrainian drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea by turning off Starlink satellites.

Mr Isaacson claimed he panicked when he heard about the planned Ukrainian attack using his company’s satellites and spoke to the Russian ambassador, who then reportedly told him the attack would warrant a nuclear response.

The historian added that Mr Musk took matters into his own hand and switched off Ukraine’s coverage “within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the Crimean coast”.

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His actions meant the drones lost connectivity and washed ashore “harmlessly”, sabotaging a drone submarine mission Ukraine said was “crucial to their fight for freedom”.

Mr Musk claimed the satellites above the region in which the attack took place were never turned on, and that he refused to activate them.

The businessman was initially revered as a hero for allowing access to the network as the invasion commenced, but in the months following his alleged sabotage, relations have soured, and Mr Musk has openly mocked Ukrainian officials on X.

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