Elon Musk Denies Claims He Recently Spoke to Putin

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied claims that he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin before posting a Twitter poll on Oct. 3 suggesting that locals in parts of Ukraine want to be part of Russia.

Ian Bremmer, president of the political risk research firm Eurasia Group, alleged that Musk spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin before he posted the poll, according to Vice News. Bremmer asserted Musk had a “direct conversation” with Putin about the conflict.

Vice, citing Bremmer’s claims, alleged Musk was told by Putin that he “prepared to negotiate” but only if the Crimean Peninsula remained under Russian territory amid other claims that Ukraine must adopt the formal status of neutrality and has to recognize Russia’s annexations of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.

Musk, however, denied those claims on Twitter.

“I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago. The subject matter was space,” Musk wrote Tuesday. Responding to a question about whether the Vice report is true, Musk said, “No, it is not.”

Earlier this year, Musk challenged Putin to “single combat,” adding he spoke to the Russian president through a video conference in 2021. In Ukraine, Musk became popular by sending his Starlink Internet terminals to keep the Ukrainian military online following the February invasion.

Ukrainian and some U.S. officials in recent days have sharply criticized the Tesla CEO after he posted that “most of Ukraine unequivocally wants to be part of Ukraine,” including areas that were taken over by Russia this year.

In one example, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested that the Senate could take away tax breaks for electric vehicles, which Tesla manufactures, in a thread criticizing Musk’s Ukraine comments.

“With all due respect to Elon Musk—and I do respect him—I would suggest he needs to understand the facts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Graham wrote on Twitter. “Suggesting we end the Russian invasion by simply giving Russia parts of Ukraine—after all the suffering—is dumb. It is also an affront to the bravery of the Ukrainians fighting to defend their homeland.”

Later in the thread, Graham suggested lawmakers “should revisit the electric vehicle tax credit boondoggle” in what some said was a thinly veiled threat against Tesla.

This week, Musk drew controversy when he suggested Taiwan become “a special administrative zone” under the Chinese Communist Party’s control, which drew praise from Beijing. His suggestion also drew condemnation from top Taiwanese officials.

“We welcome Musk and other international business people to visit Taiwan and learn the democracy, freedom, innovation, and development in Taiwan … which are starkly different from the authoritarian market system and malicious coercion and suppression under the [Chinese] Communist Party,” said Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council on Oct. 9.

Jack Phillips

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Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.





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