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A hot potato: Elon Musk has waded into another controversy on the platform he once tried to buy. The world's richest man tweeted a proposal on how to end the war between Ukraine and Russia, and it's brought an angry response from the country's president.
Musk tweeted a poll to his 107.7 million followers asking whether they agree with his solution to the Ukraine/Russia conflict: a redo of the sham elections that took place in occupied areas of Ukraine that led to Putin authorizing their annexation, but this time they are performed under UN supervision, and Russia must leave if it is the will of the people. Additionally, Crimea to formally be part of Russia with its water supply assured, all while Ukraine remains neutral.
This is highly likely to be the outcome in the end – just a question of how many die before then— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
With almost 2.5 million votes, just over 60% of participants disagree with Musk's suggestion. The world's richest person notes that what he suggests will likely happen anyway; it's just a question of how many people will die before then. He also raised the possibility of the conflict leading to nuclear war.
The poll has caused a backlash from many politicians and the public. Ukraine's outgoing ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, replied with "F**k off is my very diplomatic reply to you." He noted that no Ukrainian will ever buy "your f…ing tesla crap."
Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) October 3, 2022
Lithuania's president, Gitanas Naus-da, tweeted, "…when someone tries to steal the wheels of your Tesla, it doesn't make them legal owner of the car or of the wheels. Even though they claim both voted in favour of it. Just saying."
Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov said, "This is moral idiocy, repetition of Kremlin propaganda, a betrayal of Ukrainian courage & sacrifice."
Even the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, hit back at Musk, launching his own poll asking which version of the billionaire people prefer, the one who supports Russia or the one who supports Ukraine.
I still very much support Ukraine, but am convinced that massive escalation of the war will cause great harm to Ukraine and possibly the world.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022
In a later poll, Musk wrote, "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." Over two million people have voted, with 58.2% choosing yes.
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
Musk responded to Zelensky's poll, writing that he very much supports Ukraine but is convinced that a massive escalation of the war will cause significant harm to Ukraine and possibly the world. He also highlighted SpaceX's support of Ukraine via the Starlink system, which has cost the company $80 million.
Musk has repeatedly clashed with Russian officials over the 12,000+ SpaceX terminals supplied to Ukraine, which now has well over 150,000 active Starlink users per day. He even tweeted about dying in mysterious circumstances following a veiled threat from Russia's former space chief over the issue. The Tesla boss also offered to fight Vladimir Putin in "single combat" for the future of Ukraine.
Russia warned last month that SpaceX Starlink satellites could become a legitimate target in the war with Ukraine, though Musk claims they can be launched faster than Russia can shoot them down.