Elon Musk, Zelensky get into Twitter squabble over Russian annexation

Musk called for Ukraine to make concessions, while Zelensky asked Twitter users how they liked Musk.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) and Elon Musk (right) (photo credit: ADREES LATIF/REUTERS, GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) and Elon Musk (right)
(photo credit: ADREES LATIF/REUTERS, GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)

Elon Musk and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky clashed on Twitter after Musk published tweets calling on Ukraine to give up Crimea and redo the Russian annexation vote in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

In a Tweet starting with the words "Ukraine-Russia Peace:" Musk called on Ukraine to redo the annexation elections in the Donbas under UN supervision, leave Crimea formally as part of Russia, assure the water supply to Crimea and remain neutral. The tweet also had a poll with the options of "Yes" and "No."

"This is highly likely to be the outcome in the end – just a question of how many die before then," tweeted Musk. "Also worth noting that a possible, albeit unlikely, outcome from this conflict is nuclear war."

In another tweet on the subject published shortly afterward, Musk published another "Yes or No" poll, writing "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."

 Members of an electoral commission wait for voters near a destroyed residential building on the third day of a referendum on the joining of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) to Russia, in Mariupol, Ukraine (credit: REUTERS) Members of an electoral commission wait for voters near a destroyed residential building on the third day of a referendum on the joining of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) to Russia, in Mariupol, Ukraine (credit: REUTERS)

Seemingly in response to the tweets, Zelensky tweeted his own poll on Monday evening, writing "Which @elonmusk do you like more?" with the options "one who supports Ukraine" and "one who supports Russia."

The adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky questioned Musk's tweets on Monday evening, writing "Are you trying to legitimize pseudo-referendums that took place at gunpoint under conditions of persecution, mass executions and torture? Bad path."

Musk has made viral tweets about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the past, including one in which he challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to a duel over Ukraine.

Musk's Starlink satellite internet service has been used by Ukraine to access the internet amid the war.

Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory

Last month, Russia conducted referendums in territories it occupied in Ukraine, including the Donetsk and the Luhansk People's Republic and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, claiming that a vast majority of residents had voted to be annexed by Russia. The referendums were reportedly conducted with residents threatened if they didn't vote "Yes."

On September 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of the listed territories. The annexation of the territories has been widely condemned across the world.

Kremlin: 'Positive' that Elon Musk suggested Ukraine peace deal

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it was a "positive step" that Tesla founder Elon Musk was outlining a possible peace deal, hours after Kyiv slammed Musk's call for a negotiated settlement to Russia's seven-month-old conflict with Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also told reporters in a conference call that Moscow had always been open to a negotiated end to the conflict.