Musk sets off a firestorm with his plan for ‘peace’ in Ukraine
Elon Musk is drawing criticism after he tweeted a “peace” proposal for Ukraine that involved permanently making the Crimean Peninsula part of Russia and potentially recognizing the country’s annexation claims to four Ukrainian territories.
Musk asked his more than 100 million Twitter followers to vote on the proposal, which included conducting United Nations-supervised referendums in the regions Russia annexed to determine which country the areas should belong to, drawing a firestorm from Ukrainian officials.
“This is highly likely to be the outcome in the end — just a question of how many die before then,” Musk wrote.
“F— off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk,” responded Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Melnyk.
Russia last week laid claim to the four regions, located in Ukraine’s south and east, after holding referendums that were roundly condemned by U.S. and Western officials as a sham.
Moscow also annexed Crimea in 2014, although most of the international community does not recognize the Kremlin’s claims there or in the other regions.
With roughly 2.75 million votes cast in Musk’s poll as of Tuesday evening, 59 percent of respondents had rejected the proposal. Russia, meanwhile, praised Musk’s suggestion, Reuters reported.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, blasted those pushing supposed peace proposals.
“Those who propose Ukraine to give up on its people and land — presumably not to hurt Putin’s bruised ego or to save Ukraine from suffering — must stop using word ‘peace’ as an euphemism to ‘let Russians murder and rape thousands more innocent Ukrainians, and grab more land,” he tweeted.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to Musk with a poll of his own, asking users which Musk they liked more: one who supports Ukraine, or one who supports Russia.
Nearly 79 percent of users voted for the first option, with more than 2.43 million total votes cast.
Iuliia Mendel, Zelensky’s former press secretary, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Tuesday that Musk in March wanted to use his connections with the Kremlin to establish relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky.
“When Elon Musk goes out with this offer, I guess he just had some relations with the Kremlin, maybe because this comes the same exact messages that we hear from pro-Kremlin propagandists and that we hear from many pro-Kremlin supporters,” Mendel told the network.
The SpaceX CEO activated the company’s Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine earlier this year to improve connectivity after Russia invaded. But he has also at times made statements at odds with U.S. and Western officials, who have sought to punish Putin.
“Lot of bullshit, but some good points too,” Musk said of Russian state-controlled media in a text message shortly after the invasion.
The text was revealed as part of his ongoing legal battle with Twitter.
Musk’s proposal on Tuesday came the same day he notified Twitter that he will move forward with his takeover bid of the company, a reversal that occurred days before the social media company and the Tesla CEO were set to go to trial over the deal.
“This is moral idiocy, repetition of Kremlin propaganda, a betrayal of Ukrainian courage & sacrifice, and puts a few minutes browsing Crimea on Wikipedia over the current horrific reality of Putin’s bloody war,” Garry Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, wrote of Musk’s Ukraine proposal.