Tesla CEO flatly denies allegation that he spoke to Russia’s Vladimir Putin before posting his controversial Twitter poll about Ukraine
The fallout for Tesla boss Elon Musk continues after his controversial Twitter poll last week about the war in Ukraine.
Musk was widely criticised last week after his tweeted his unsolicited ‘peace’ plan in a poll that touted terms far more amenable to Russia, than Ukraine.
Essentially Musk’s poll ceded Crimea ( illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014) to Russia with guarantees, and also touted redoing the sham elections in the breakaway regions of Ukraine that have also been illegally annexed by Russia.
Even Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky took time out from overseeing the fight against Russia, to subtly rebuke Musk opinions about the war.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also said people proposing Ukraine give up on its people and land “must stop using word ‘peace’ as an euphemism to ‘let Russians murder and rape thousands more innocent Ukrainians, and grab more land’.”
Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov called Mr Musk’s tweet “moral idiocy, repetition of Kremlin propaganda, a betrayal of Ukrainian courage & sacrifice.”
Moscow however publicly thanked Elon Musk for his comments.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was widely quoted as welcoming Musk’s suggestions, stating: “It is very positive that somebody like Elon Musk is looking for a peaceful way out of this situation.”
Despite widely being rebuked, Musk didn’t stop there.
This week Musk was again heavily criticised by Taiwanese officials when during an interview with the Financial Times, he suggested a way to resolve tensions between China and Taiwan could be to “figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable”.
Musk was condemned by Taiwanese politicians across the board and elsewhere, who said Taiwan’s freedom and democracy was not for sale.
But Musk was publicly thanked by Beijing officials for his comments, including by China’s ambassador to the United States.
This was the second time in the space of a week that Musk has been publicly thanked by an autocratic regime.
Now it has emerged that Ian Bremmer, head of the Eurasia Group political risk consultancy, has alleged that Musk personally told him about the conversation with Putin, before posting a Twitter poll with his suggestions for ending Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Bremmer wrote in a newsletter to his Eurasia Group subscribers that Musk had told him the Russian president was “prepared to negotiate”, but only if Crimea remained under Russian control, if Ukraine accepted a form of permanent neutrality, and if Kyiv recognised Russia’s annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Bremmer then reiterated his initial claims on Twitter.
elon musk told me he had spoken with putin and the kremlin directly about ukraine. he also told me what the kremlin’s red lines were.
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 11, 2022
“Elon Musk told me he had spoken with Putin and the Kremlin directly about Ukraine. He also told me what the Kremlin’s red lines were,” Bremmer was reported by Vice as writing in the newsletter.
Bremmer reportedly said he had been writing his weekly newsletter about geopolitics for 24 years, doing so “honestly without fear or favour and this week’s update was no different.”
He added, “I’ve long admired Musk as a unique and world-changing entrepreneur, which I’ve said publicly. He’s not a geopolitics expert.”
According to Bremmer, Musk said Putin told him these goals would be accomplished “no matter what,” including the potential of a nuclear strike if Ukraine invaded Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
Bremmer wrote that Musk had told him that “everything needed to be done to avoid that outcome.”
Bremmer wrote that Musk said he had refused a Ukrainian request to activate Starlink in Crimea, Vice reported.
But Musk has publicly denied he had recently spoken to Putin, in a response to being asked on Twitter if the allegation was true.
— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) October 11, 2022
“No, it is not,” Musk replied. “I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago. The subject matter was space.”
Elon Musk has said previously that China has told him not to bring his Starlink service to its country.