The Russian government praised Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk for his Ukraine war peace proposal. Musk Tweeted a four-point plan on Monday that drew stern criticisms from Western politicians and commentators.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “It is very positive that somebody like Elon Musk is looking for a peaceful way out of this situation.” He continued, “Compared to many professional diplomats, Musk is still searching for ways to achieve peace. And achieving peace without fulfilling Russia’s conditions is absolutely impossible.”
The Kremlin stopped short of endorsing Musk’s proposal. The plan called for UN-held referendums in four contested regions of Ukraine, recognition of Russia’s claim to Crimea, neutrality for Kiev, and Moscow’s agreement to respect the results of the voting in the Donbas and southern regions of Ukraine.
Musk’s plan was far less favorably received in Kiev. Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany responded to Musk on Twitter, saying, “F**k off is my very diplomatic reply to you, [Elon Musk].”
Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk
— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) October 3, 2022
Musk says he is pro-Ukraine. After Russia invaded Ukraine, SpaceX began providing the people of Ukraine with Starlink to access the internet. Musk says his company has spent $80 billion to provide the service to Kiev.
Musk is in the process of purchasing Twitter for $44 billion. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the Tesla CEO is pushing forward with the deal, months after initially making the offer.
In replies to his initial proposal, Musk Tweeted that nuclear war is a possible outcome of the war. He added his plan would be the likely result of the war, and it’s “just a question of how many die before” that outcome is reached.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky then created a Twitter poll promoting users to vote for an Elon Musk who supports Ukraine or Russia. Nearly 2.5 million users voted 78% for Kiev. Musk’s Tweet also included a poll, with 59% of the 2.7 million respondents rejecting his proposal.
Which @elonmusk do you like more?
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 3, 2022
In an article, Washington Post columnist Max Boot accused Musk of spreading Russian propaganda. Boot argued the idea of referendums was unnecessary as 90% of Ukrainians wanted independence in 1991, and a similar number support the war effort against Moscow today.
However, Boot ignores Ukraine’s ethnic breakdown and more recent history. Most people living in the regions annexed by Moscow are of Russian heritage. In 2014, the governments in two Ukrainian regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – asked to be absorbed into Russia, only to be rebuffed by Putin.
Any peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine may not be unattainable. Zelensky signed a decree that ruled out any talks with Putin’s government. “The impossibility of holding negotiations with the president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin,” Zelensky’s official order states.