Elon Musk, Zelenskyy in Twitter battle over Ukraine’s peace.
Elon Musk, an outspoken billionaire, recently conducted a poll on Twitter asking followers to comment on a proposal to end the conflict in Ukraine. This poll drew a barrage of criticism, including that of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The contentious “peace” proposal put out by the businessman behind Tesla Inc. and SpaceX included recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and holding elections under UN supervision in the four regions of Ukraine that Russia recently annexed.
Crimea, which was occupied by Russia in 2014, is strategically important for its access to the Black Sea.
Most nations recognise Crimea as an autonomous region within Ukraine and reject Russia’s annexation of the territory as illegal.
The initial four-point proposal was amended later on Monday in a subsequent tweet asking users if they would support another referendum in Crimea – the last one, which was widely condemned as illigitemate, was held in 2014.
Musk has previously shown solidarity with Ukraine and provided through his company SpaceX equipment for its Starlink internet service, so that the war-torn country could maintain online access to the rest of the world.
However, Ukrainians viewed his proposals as a betrayal of his earlier support.
President Zelenskyy replied by launching a Twitter poll accusing Musk of contradicting himself.
Which @elonmusk do you like more?
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 3, 2022
Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, had a blunt response to Musk’s initial poll.
“F— off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk,” he wrote on Twitter.
Musk responded to Zelenskyy in a public tweet late on Monday, saying he still supported Ukraine but feared the consequences of escalating the war.
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
Musk then sent out a third tweet arguing that Russia would go into “full war mobilisation”, as opposed to the partial mobilisation announced on September 21, if Crimea was at risk.
“Death on both sides will be devastating,” he said.
“Russia has >3 times population of Ukraine, so victory for Ukraine is unlikely in total war. If you care about the people of Ukraine, seek peace,” he said.
In the meantime, Ukrainian forces broke through Russian lines and advanced down the Dnieper river on Monday, making their biggest advancement in the south of the country since Russia’s invasion.