Elon Musk, as he often does, fired off some tweets on Monday. This time, he took aim at the Russia-Ukraine war — asking via a Twitter poll if his followers approved of a four-point peace plan to end the conflict.
Musk’s plan began with this suggestion: “Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is [the] will of the people.”
His second point? “Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).”
Here, Musk was repeating a selective version of the history of the Crimean Peninsula, one that closely aligns with the Kremlin’s. He didn’t, of course, acknowledge the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Russia agreed to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including Crimea. Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.
His final two points called for Ukraine to remain “neutral” and for the water supply to Crimea to be “assured.”
“This is highly likely to be the outcome in the end — just a question of how many die before then,” Musk said of his plan.
At 5 p.m. Eastern time, more than 1.6 million votes were cast in the Twitter poll, with 63.2 percent voting “no” and 36.8 percent voting “yes.”
Ukraine-Russia Peace:— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
- Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.
- Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
- Water supply to Crimea assured.
- Ukraine remains neutral.
There were some notable responses.
“F--- off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky put up a Twitter poll of his own: “Which @elonmusk do you like more?” There were two possible answers: “One who supports Ukraine” and “One who supports Russia.” At 5 p.m., the former one was winning.
But even amid the harsh response, Musk doubled down.
“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 tweeted with a “yes” or “no” 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— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
To this, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda fired back: “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.”
Russian officials were more receptive to Musk’s tweets, which parroted some Kremlin talking points on Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday, “We consider it very positive that such a person as Musk is looking for ways out of the situation around Ukraine.”
Former president Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, also gave his “kudos” to Musk on Telegram, sarcastically suggesting that the Tesla owner is in fact a Russian agent.
On Monday, the pro-Kremlin RT news channel reposted Musk’s peace plan, with the comment “Elon Musk proposes a solution to the conflict in Ukraine.”
But Ukraine’s Kyiv Post, pointing to the propaganda network’s tweet, wrote: “It’s a bad sign, Elon.”
Ryan reported from Kyiv, Ukraine. Robyn Dixon and Natalia Abbakumova in Riga, Latvia, contributed to this report.
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