Tesla’s billionaire CEO came up with a peace plan ten days ago, widely rejected by the Ukrainians, to end the Russia-Ukraine war.
Elon Musk and Ukraine seem to be hand in hand again.
The billionaire seems to have regained his place as a hero in the eyes of the Ukrainian people ten days after having proposed a controversial peace plan.
This peace plan, unveiled on October 3, mirrors Russian demands.
Indeed, the techno king asked Ukraine to recognize as Russian territory the region of Crimea, annexed in 2014 by Russia.
Kyiv would also have to agree to remain neutral on the international scene. Basically, Ukraine would have to renounce membership of NATO and the European Union, two organizations that Russia considers a threat to its sovereignty.
Musk’s peace plan also came at a time when the Ukrainian armed forces had won victories against the Russians.
The plan was vehemently rejected by the Ukrainian authorities, often with strong words. Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, even said “Fuck off” to the diplomatic efforts of the richest man in the world.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Musk of becoming pro-Russian.
Musk also submitted the plan to the vote of his nearly 109 million followers on Twitter and it was largely rejected.
Faced with such strong reactions, the billionaire explained that his plan was realistic. Musk said he feared that the conflict would escalate into all-out war with the possibility of a nuclear attack, with potentially devastating consequences for Ukraine and the world.
“Nuclear war probability is rising rapidly,” the billionaire warned on Oct. 9.
These explanations failed to convince his detractors and the Ukrainians.
Things were not settled when Ian Bremmer, the founder of the think tank Eurasia Group, revealed that Musk had confided in him that he had spoken with the Russian president Vladimir Putin before revealing his peace plan. The tech tycoon denied the report, reiterating that he only spoke with Putin back in 2021 and the topic was space.
SpaceX, Musk’s aerospace company, plays an important role in the new conquest of space.
It now looks like Ukraine and Musk seem ready to mend the damage caused by this sad episode with the peace plan. Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov, has thus just announced that Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite Internet access service, had enabled Ukraine to restore the connection in certain important areas of the country after the last Russian attacks.
“Over 100 cruise missiles attacked 🇺🇦 energy and communications infrastructure,” Fedorov said on Twitter on Oct. 12. “But with Starlink we quickly restored the connection in critical areas. Starlink continues to be an essential part of critical infrastructure,” Fedorov said.
Fedorov also included the image of a Starlink antenna to demonstrate his point.
Musk accepted this peace offering by Fedorov, which again made him a hero for the Ukrainian people. He then renewed his support for Ukraine.
“You’re most welcome,” the billionaire said. “Glad to support Ukraine.”
The reactions of Twitter users are however divided. Some seem delighted that Musk is renewing his support for Ukraine, while others seem not to have forgiven him for his peace plan, considered a capitulation.
“Glad you’ve come around. Please keep supporting Ukraine. We all need to. Ukrainian victory is critical for the future of humanity,” one Twitter user said.
“Really? You support Ukraine? You change stances from day to day. You would make a good politician,” another user quipped.
Musk, who sees himself as a global CEO, wants to fill the leadership vacuum on the international and domestic stage caused by the distrust people have with politics. He was the first boss of a large international company to take the side of the Ukrainians after the unprovoked Russian invasion on February 24. What had surprised the world was that he had accompanied his support with actions in the form of sending Starlink terminals to Ukraine.
The service guarantees secure and independent access to the internet. It is difficult to hack. Service cuts are rare. It also provides access to the internet for residents of areas that are poorly served by the fixed and mobile networks of telecom operators. Thousands of small satellites circulating in low orbit — mainly 342 miles (550km) above Earth — enable the service.
Starlink gave Ukrainians independent access to the internet and enabled the country to keep in touch with the outside world. Starlink’s effectiveness foiled Russia’s war communications plans, causing fury among Russia’s authorities to the point they threatened to retaliate.
The cost of sending Starlink terminals to Ukraine continues to rise for Musk and SpaceX.
“This operation has cost SpaceX $80M & will exceed $100M by end of year,” the billionaire said on October 7.