Musk denies he spoke to Putin about Ukraine
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has denied a media report that he consulted with Russian President Vladimir Putin before tweeting a plan for “Ukraine-Russia Peace.” He insisted he hadn’t spoken to the Russian leader in 18 months after he was asked about the report on Twitter on Tuesday.
The report in question was published on Tuesday by Vice, citing an e-mail from the political consulting firm Eurasia Group. In his response, the world’s richest man explained that he had “spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago.” The subject, he said, was not Ukraine but “space.”
According to Vice, Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group's founder, claimed that Musk not only had a recent face-to-face meeting with Putin but that he had shared the juicy details with Bremmer afterwards. Putin, Musk supposedly told Bremmer, was “prepared to negotiate” should Ukraine accept three of the terms listed in the 280-characters-or-less peace treaty he had tweeted the previous week.
These terms – Crimea remaining Russian with its water supply guaranteed and Ukraine staying neutral – would be achieved “no matter what,” Putin supposedly told the Tesla tycoon. Musk allegedly told the political scientist that Putin had also threatened a nuclear strike if Ukraine invaded Crimea, and that “everything needed to be done to avoid that outcome.”
Musk’s peace plan requires Russia to allow a UN-supervised redo of the referendums conducted last month in the two Donbass republics, and Zaporozhye and Kherson regions in return for reversing “Khrushchev’s mistake” and keeping Crimea Russian. All four regions officially became part of Russia earlier this month after the referendums showed an overwhelming majority of voters favored unification.
Musk's proposal was positively reviewed in Moscow but reviled by Kiev, with one diplomat telling Musk to ‘f*** off’ and President Vladimir Zelensky responding with his own pointed poll indicating his followers preferred a Musk who “supports Ukraine.” Musk’s own followers were split on the issue, though the potential future owner of Twitter remarked that “bots” had come out of the woodwork to sway the vote for Ukraine.
Musk, who donated thousands of Starlink communications satellites to Ukraine in February, has insisted he is pro-Ukraine and just wants to avoid nuclear war. However, Bremmer also claimed that Musk told him he had told the Russian president that he had refused a Ukrainian request to activate Starlink terminals in Crimea.