In this photo illustration Elon Musk’s Twitter account is shown on a smartphone screen with the Twitter logo in the background.
Pavlo Gonchar | Light Rocket | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — American tech billionaire Elon Musk drew the public ire of Ukraine’s top officials on Monday after the Tesla CEO tweeted what he said was the most likely outcome of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
“F—off is my very diplomatic response to you,” Ukraine’s outgoing Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk wrote in response to Musk’s tweet. “The only result is that now no Ukrainian will buy your fucking Tesla crap. So good luck to you.”
Musk released a Twitter poll assessing support for what he believed to be a likely outcome of the seven-month conflict. Special:
- That the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which Russia forcibly annexed in 2014, be permanently handed over to Russia and permanent water supplies guaranteed.
- That the four regions of eastern Ukraine where Russia held mock referendums last month before illegally annexing the country will be subjected to new referendums, this time organized by the United Nations.
- That Ukraine should be forced to remain “neutral” and achieve the Kremlin’s long-term goal of preventing Ukraine from joining the NATO defense alliance.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded with his own Twitter poll.
“Which Elon Musk do you like more?” Zelenskyy asked, giving two possible answers: “One who supports Ukraine” or “One who supports Russia”.
The sharp reactions from Ukraine were all the more remarkable given that Musk has earned the status of a quasi-hero of the people in Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict.
Musk’s Starlink satellite communications system has allowed Ukrainians and the Ukrainian military to bypass internet outages that have plagued the country.
Still, Musk’s comments aren’t entirely out of character for the political iconoclast and richest man in the world.
While Tesla’s business interests have traditionally aligned with America’s political left, Musk has recently maintained an antagonistic relationship with key Democratic politicians, including President Joe Biden, whose administration has strengthened Ukraine with arms packages and sanctions against Moscow.
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