Tesla’s CEO says Russia has nothing left to lose in Ukraine war.
Elon Musk fears the world is on the edge of a third World War.
The richest man on the planet fears that Russia’s war on Ukraine, which Russia started on Feb. 24, will lead the world to a nuclear war with unfathomable consequences.
Early this month those fears led the tech tycoon to turn to his diplomatic side and propose a controversial plan. This plan provided for two particularly sensitive points: that Ukraine recognize Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, as Russian territory; and stay neutral in geopolitics, in particular by renouncing its desire to become a member of the European Union and NATO.
This proposal weakened the bond he had forged with the Ukrainians, to whom the billionaire and his aerospace company SpaceX have provided Starlink, a secure and independent internet access service.
The Ukrainians, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, viewed Musk’s plan as a sellout at a time when they had regained the advantage over the Russians in parts of the country.
But a reconciliation began recently and Musk seemed to be back in Ukraine’s good graces.
The CEO of electric-vehicle-market leader Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report even promised on Oct. 15 to provide Starlink to Ukraine free of charge. He dropped his demand that the Pentagon finance part of this service, the costs of which have increased.
‘What More Do They Have Left to Lose?’
Starlink has indeed become the Ukrainian armed forces’ main communication system on the front, which makes it a target of recurrent cyberattacks from Russia.
The conflict, as Musk predicted, escalated. Russia on Oct. 17 attacked the capital, Kyiv, with Iranian-made so-called kamikaze drones, according to Ukrainian officials. Ukraine asked Western allies to supply the country with more advanced air-defense systems.
It was in this context that Musk was asked on Twitter if he thought the possibility of World War III was still on the table, as NATO began its annual nuclear exercises in northwestern Europe. The majority of the war games will be held at least 1,000km (625 miles) from Russia’s borders.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that he will use all means necessary to defend his country.
“Elon, do you still think there’s a possibility of nuke war or ww3??” a Twitter user asked Musk on Oct. 17.
“If Russia is faced with the choice of losing Crimea or using battlefield nukes, they will choose the latter,” the CEO responded. “We’ve already sanctioned/cut off Russia in every possible way, so what more do they have left to lose?”
He added: “If we nuke Russia back, they will nuke us and then we have WW3.”
If Russia has nothing to lose, Musk says, it becomes even more dangerous. The West played all the cards that could have forced Moscow to rein in its instincts.
Russia’s Pearl Harbor
Among the various sanctions the West has imposed on Russia. Russian banks have been disconnected from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or Swift, which is a secure messaging system used by financial institutions, brokers, and investment firms.
Swift enables more than 11,000 banks to send instructions to other financial institutions, which then enables those banks to transfer funds across borders. Its services affect banks in more than 200 countries, and it plays an integral role in the movement of trillions of dollars.
Musk, who said last week that he had discussed space with Putin in 2021, had made it known a few days ago that Russia had considerable striking power.
“Whether one likes it or not, Crimea is absolutely seen as a core part of Russia by Russia,” the billionaire said on Oct. 17. “Crimea is also of critical national security importance to Russia, as it is their southern navy base. From their standpoint losing Crimea is like USA losing Hawaii & Pearl Harbor.”
The posts sparked worried comments from users.
“This is simply conjecture. There is nothing more to this than your own view on the importance of Crimea to Russia which has never used nuclear arms in a battle before. Also, US/NATO mad it very clear that they will destroy the Russian army if the later goes nuclear,” one user pushed back.
The billionaire took the opportunity to emphasize his point.
“If Russia faces destruction of their army and utter defeat by NATO, they will use nukes, then NATO will respond with nukes and civilization is over,” Musk argued.