Tesla to Pay Ukrainian Employees Conscripted by Ukrainian Military

Tesla will pay the salaries of Ukrainian employees who are conscripted for up to three months.

“For any Tesla employees who is a Ukrainian national and has been asked to return to Ukraine for active duty as a reservist, we will maintain their employment and salary for 3 months, with a view to assessing after this period as needed,” it told its employees in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East in an email.

SpaceX recently sent shipments of Starlink terminals to Ukraine at Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov’s request and made improvements to its ability to resist signal jamming. It reportedly reassigned some engineers working on rocket development to help improve Starlink’s cybersecurity and released software updates designed to improve Starlink terminals’ security.

Fedorov had also issued a call for “cyber specialists” to help with the cyber component of the war. Russia had disrupted Ukrainian communications infrastructure, including Internet-based communications.

In its email, Tesla praised employees who helped deliver the terminals and some Tesla Powerwall batteries to Ukraine.

Tesla has a strong business in Europe and is working on Gigafactory Berlin to improve its ability to serve the European EV market. Regulators recently gave Gigafactory Berlin tentative approval to begin manufacturing after months of delays that were primarily caused by bureaucratic red tape and challenges from German environmentalist groups.

Tesla hasn’t seen strong sales in Ukraine, with only 5,000 EV owners in the country. However, Tesla says EV owners who need to leave Ukraine can use its Superchargers to charge their vehicles for free in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. Owners of EVs that weren’t manufactured by Tesla may still need a special adapter to charge their vehicles at a Supercharger.

Businesses have generally faced pressure to stop doing business in Russia. General Motors and Ford stopped doing business in Russia as a response to its invasion of Ukraine. Volvo also stopped deliveries of vehicles.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pushed back against the pressure slightly, saying that he wouldn’t have Starlink block Russian propaganda sites like RT.com. The search engine DuckDuckGo did not respond directly to this but said it would reduce Russian sites’ rankings in its search algorithms. The cyberactivist group Anonymous briefly conducted successful Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks or hacked several high-profile Russian sites.

Ukraine has also raised $100 million in cryptocurrency donations, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and (Elon Musk’s favorite) Dogecoin. Alex Bornyakov says it spent the donations on military supplies, medicine, and food.

Meanwhile, the blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis launched new tools to monitor possible sanctions evasions using crypto. It previously detected that Russian firms have been involved in crypto-related money laundering.

Ukraine continues to fight back against Russia’s invasion even in the face of deliberate bombings of residential areas and alleged slaughtering of civilians attempting to evacuate by Russian troops. Ukraine may call up reservists living in other countries, including Tesla employees, if the war continues. Tesla says it will pay up to three months of the affected Tesla employees’ salaries if that happens.