Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has denied claims by Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, that he had spoken directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin before tweeting a proposal to end the war in Ukraine, which has been heavily criticized by Ukrainian officials as siding with Russia.
According to Vice News, a message sent out to Eurasia Group subscribers by company founder Ian Bremmer claimed that he had spoken to Musk, who told him he had met with Putin. According to Bremmer, Musk said that Putin told him Russia was open to negotiations if two main conditions were met: Annexed Crimea, Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia remain under Russian control and Ukraine commits to permanent neutrality. Likewise, Bremmer claimed that Musk was told by Putin that these goals would be accomplished “no matter what” and that a potential nuclear strike would be carried out if Ukrainian forces invaded Crimea. Bremmer also wrote that Musk told him “everything needed to be done to avoid” an outcome that included the deployment of nuclear weapons.
No, it is not. I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago. The subject matter was space.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 11, 2022
Musk denied the allegations. When asked on twitter if the Vice News article was true, Musk responded “No, it is not. I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago. The subject matter was space.” Musk later responded to tweets by Bremmer about the subject by saying that that “nobody should trust Bremmer.”
While the claim did not provide an exact time for the alleged meeting between Musk and Putin, it insinuated that it was done closely before Musk’s “Ukraine-Russia Peace” proposal tweet. If you have not seen the tweet yet, it is linked below, but in it Musk proposes that a way to end the war could be done so with four points:
- “Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.”
- “Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).”
- “Water supply to Crimea assured.”
- “Ukraine remains neutral.”
Musk also added that “This is highly likely to be the outcome in the end – just a question of how many die before then.”
– Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.
– Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
– Water supply to Crimea assured.
– Ukraine remains neutral.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
The tweet was widely criticized and condemned by Ukrainian officials, who believed it echoed Kremlin talking points. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took to twitter and released a poll, asking his followers “Which @elonmusk do you like more? One who supports Ukraine” or “One who supports Russia?
Andrij Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany told Musk to “Fuck off.”
Meanwhile Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted out “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”.”
Nobody should trust Bremmer
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 11, 2022
Russian officials and media welcomed Musk’s tweet, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that “It’s very positive that such a person as Elon Musk is trying to look for a peaceful settlement,” however, “as for the referendums, people have voiced their opinion and there could be nothing else.”
Musk reaffirmed his commitment to supporting Ukraine, in which he replied to Zelensky’s tweet by stating “I still very much support Ukraine, but am convinced that massive escalation of the war will cause great harm to Ukraine and possibly the world.” He later tweeted that “SpaceX’s out of pocket cost to enable & support Starlink in Ukraine is ~$80M so far. Our support for Russia is $0. Obviously, we are pro Ukraine,” adding “Trying to retake Crimea will cause massive death, probably fail & risk nuclear war. This would be terrible for Ukraine & Earth.”