A plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine was put to Twitter users’ by billionaire Elon Musk, which ended up in the Tesla owner being told to “f**k off.”
This prompted an immediate backlash from Ukrainians, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who responded with his own poll.
“Which @elonmusk do you like more?” Zelenskyy tweeted, offering two responses: one who supports Ukraine, one who supports Russia.
Musk, who is the richest man in the world suggested UN-supervised elections in four occupied regions that Moscow moved to annex last week, following what it called referendums.
Kyiv and Western governments condemned the votes as being unconstitutional and forced.
Musk said: “Russia leaves if that is the will of the people,”
The CEO of Tesla suggested Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014 must receive official recognition as Russia, the security of Crimea’s water supply, and Ukraine’s neutrality.
He requested a “yes” or “no” vote from Twitter users on the proposal.
Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda tweeted in response: “Dear @elonmusk, when someone tries to steal the wheels of your Tesla, it doesn’t make them the legal owner of the car or of the wheels. Even though they claim both voted in favor of it. Just saying.”
Musk, who is also chief executive of SpaceX, followed up his first tweet with another poll: “Let’s try this then: the will of the people who live in the Donbas & Crimea should decide whether they’re part of Russia or Ukraine.”
He said he didn’t care if his proposal was detested, arguing that he did care “that millions of people may die needlessly for an essentially identical outcome.”
“Russia has >3 times the population of Ukraine, so victory for Ukraine is unlikely in total war. If you care about the people of Ukraine, seek peace,” he posted on Twitter.
When the internet in Ukraine was down in February as a result of Russia’s invasion, Musk replied to a tweet from a Ukrainian official pleading for assistance.
Musk claimed that Ukraine could access SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service and that the company was relocating more terminals there.
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“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,” Musk posted on Twitter on Monday.
Ukraine’s outspoken outgoing ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, had a blunt reaction to Musk’s peace plan.
“F**k off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk,” tweeted Melnyk.