Billionaire Elon Musk and Tesla have announced that the electric vehicle manufacturer will continue paying the salaries of its Ukrainian employees. The latter has been asked to return to defend their homeland for at least three months.
CNBC reported that the company disclosed the news in a corporate email from its Northern Europe Director Axel Tangen to Europe, Africa and the Middle East employees. It was unclear from the email if the salary guarantee was being extended to North American employees.
The company is expected to evaluate continuing payments at the end of the initial three-month period. The email said that any Ukrainian employee who has been asked to return to the country as a reservist service member would be maintained as an employee at their regular salary for three months, subject to further assessment at the end of that time.
Ukrainian military reservists began being called up by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month as Russian troops were massing at the border in preparation for the invasion now occurring. The conflict continues to rage as the deadliest land war in Europe since World War II.
Zelenskyy has relied on the brave resistance offered by the Ukrainian people to the Russian invasion, and the government has promised to supply weapons to any citizen willing to stay in place and fight the Russians.
Several US-led Western nations have responded to the invasion by issuing severe economic sanctions against Russia and providing supplies and relief aid to Ukraine, including large numbers of weapons and military equipment.
Elon Musk, also the CEO of SpaceX, has provided aid to Ukrainian war efforts. Tangen’s email explained that Musk had directed SpaceX to team up with Tesla to provide expanded internet coverage through its low-earth-orbit Starlink service to provide Ukraine with an alternative internet infrastructure while under attack. Tangen described how volunteers have tested, packaged and shipped several hundred Starlink units to Ukraine in recent weeks.
Tesla’s staff has assembled and delivered a number of its Powerwall lithium-ion battery power systems to Ukraine to supply power to the Starlink equipment as needed.
Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov is responsible for digital transformation processes and issued a personal statement of appreciation to Musk on Twitter. Receiving the second shipment of Starlink units, he wrote that Musk “keeps his word” and thanked him for supporting “Ukraine and peace in the entire world!”