A top-ranking Ukrainian official expressed skepticism over Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. Relations between the two have been altered ever since the billionaire proposed in early October that Ukraine should handover Russian controlled territories in exchange for peace.
Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” has voiced a desire to shake up Twitter’s content moderation, and after completing the acquisition, he tweeted that “the bird is freed.”
On Saturday, Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential aide for Ukraine, tweeted: “Did the bird really get its freedom, or has it just moved to a new cage?”
He emphasized the “unusual moderation” of the platform by Musk. Twitter would create a content moderation panel “with widely diverse viewpoints,” Musk wrote in a tweet on Friday.
When the Tesla CEO proposed this month that Ukraine permanently cede Crimea to Russia, that new referendums be held under U.N. auspices to decide the destiny of Russian-controlled territory, and that Ukraine agree to neutrality in exchange for peace. Kyiv reacted angrily, and Moscow applauded him for his proposal.
In addition, Kyiv’s response to Musk’s takeover of Twitter was very different from that of Moscow, where Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, congratulated Musk on Friday via Twitter.
“Good luck (Elon Musk) in overcoming political bias and ideological dictatorship on Twitter. And quit that Starlink in Ukraine business,” Medvedev wrote, referring to the thousands of satellite-connected internet devices Musk’s company SpaceX operates in Ukraine.
As regular cellphone and internet connections are unavailable or insecure in frontline areas, Starlinks are an important communication tool for the Ukrainian military.
Midway through October, news broke in U.S. media that SpaceX would start asking the American government for payment for the Starlink services it provides in Ukraine, which Musk estimates will cost the firm $100 million by the end of 2022.
In response to the claims, Musk said that SpaceX has withdrew the request.