Zelensky says Musk should visit Ukraine to see war for himself

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Genya Savilov, Pool Photo via AP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sept. 8, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday took another jab at Elon Musk, suggesting he come and visit Ukraine to see the war for himself after the billionaire last month proposed Ukraine cede territory to Russia.

Zelensky, appearing at The New York Times’s DealBook Summit, said he wasn’t sure if someone has had an “influence” on Musk, but added he should visit the country to better understand the conflict.

“If you want to understand what Russia has done here, come to Ukraine and you will see this with your own eyes without any extra words,” Zelensky said. “And after that, you will tell us how to end this war, who started it and when we can end it.”

Musk conducted a poll last month asking his more than a hundred million followers to weigh in on a peace proposal to end the war in Ukraine, including redoing elections in regions of the country that Russia illegally annexed and having Ukraine give up the Crimean Peninsula.

His poll, which ended with a majority of users against the proposal, drew widespread criticism, sparking a fight with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and leading to rebuke from Ukrainian leaders.

Zelensky initially responded to the billionaire’s poll with one of his own, asking Twitter users which Musk they prefer: “One who supports Ukraine” or “One who supports Russia.”

Musk has denied claims that he talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin before the poll or is a mouthpiece for the Kremlin.

He has also doubled down on his poll, saying citizens of contested regions should decide whether they are a part of Russia or Ukraine and that only more people would die the longer the war goes on.

Zelensky has vowed to reclaim all of the territory illegally seized by Russia and his supporters say ceding territory to Russia could embolden the Kremlin.

Musk also threatened to pull his Starlink satellites out of Ukraine last month because it was expensive and there was a lack of government spending for the program.

He later walked back the threat to pull the satellites, which provide much-needed internet service to Ukraine in a time of war.

In Wednesday’s interview, Zelensky said Musk’s views on the war began to shift over time.

“It seems that Elon began to change his opinion and we began to hear all kinds of appeals,” the Ukrainian leader said. “I don’t know if somebody is making an influence on him or he is making these choices himself.”

Tags Elon Musk Russia Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Volovdymr Zelensky war in ukraine
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