The world’s wealthiest person Elon Musk has sparked the ire of Ukraine and its supporters with a single tweet. On Monday, October 3, the billionaire posted a poll on Twitter and asked his followers about his idea of a peace plan to end the Russia-Ukraine war. The poll attracted more than 2.3 million voters and a lot of condemnation for the Tesla boss. Many called out Elon Musk as “Pro-Russian” over a seemingly neutral post.
Elon Musk Peace Plan to End War in Ukraine
The Space X founder suggested that elections supervised by the UN should be held in 4 regions that Russia annexed on September 30. He also added that Russia must leave if the result of neutral elections was not in its favour. President Vladimir Putin said that referendums were held in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia and the people made thier choice. Ukraine and its Western allies saw the votes as illegal and despised Musk for not sharing thier views.
Moreover, the Tesla CEO also recognized Crimea as a part of Russia since 1783 and called its transfer in 1954 to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev a mistake. Musk said that Crimea must officially be a part of Russia, and its water supply must be assured. Ukraine blocked its water supply in 2014 following Russia’s annexation but it was restored after Moscow’s invasion in March 2022.
Conversely, Elon Musk added that Ukraine must remain neutral and asked users to vote yes or no to his plan. Around 40% agreed with Musk, while 60% voted no.
Response from Ukrainian President
Irked by the businessman’s tweet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded with his own poll. He asked his supporters which Elon Musk they liked more, with 2 options; “one who supports Ukraine” and “one who supports Russia”. The poll has received 2 million votes, with nearly 80% choosing the first option.
The rest of the Ukrainian leadership also came into the ring, criticizing Elon Musk. Politician-cum-journalist Mykhailo Podolyak left a comment on Musk’s Twitter poll, suggesting a “better peace plan”. He proposed that Ukraine take back all territories, including Crimea, Russia goes through demilitarization and denuclearization so it can no longer be a threat, and war criminals should face an international tribunal.
Andriy Melnyk, former Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, responded with profane language. He told Musk to “f*ck off” while saying it was a diplomatic response to his peace plan. Many other Ukraine supporters in the US threatened not to buy his Tesla cars and asked others to do the same.
Intolerant Public Conversation
Musk retained his stance on the Russia-Ukraine matter after massive backlash. He posted another tweet with yet another poll saying, “let’s try this then”. He asked his followers to vote yes or no if the people of Donbas and Crimea should be able to decide whether they were part of Russia or Crimea. The poll received more than 2 million votes, with almost 60% voting yes while 40% said no.
This tweet also angered many Western and Ukrainian elements. They said that there was only one way to peace, and it was for Russia to leave Ukraine immediately.
As per claims by Putin, the invasion was to “liberate” Ukraine from “external forces” that were behind the strategic collapse of the Soviet Union. He had accused the modern-Ukrainian government of following the Western agenda against Russia. Putin had always maintained that Russians, Ukrainian, and Belarusians, were “one people” with similar “heritage and destiny”, but “anti-Russian conspiracies” have divided them and made them fight each other.
In that sense, some found Elon Musk’s tweet neutral and not so problematic as the West and Ukraine supporters made it out to be.
According to reports, Space X has deployed thousands of Starlink satellites in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February disrupted the internet. The same channels criticizing Musk today had previously said that those satellites were a big help for Ukraine to fight against Russia. Several came to support Musk, bashing his critics, who thought he was taking Russia’s side with his poll. The billionaire also claimed that Space X was “obviously” Pro-Ukraine, which is why it spent 80 million USD on establishing Starlink in Ukraine. However, he added that he was trying to avoid nuclear annihilation, which would be a possible outcome if Ukraine tried to take back Crimea.