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Putin Praises Elon Musk After Ukraine Starlink Controversy

Putin Elon Musk
“Elon Musk is undoubtedly an outstanding person,” Putin said. Credit:, CC BY 4.0, and Public Domain.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin hailed on Tuesday tech billionaire Elon Musk days after it was revealed that the SpaceX boss refused to activate his Starlink satellite communication network to aid Ukraine.

Putin, speaking at an economic forum in Russia’s Far East, did not refer to the Starlink controversy. But when asked about the success of Musk’s SpaceX company in launching rockets into space, he was full of praise.

“As far as private business and Elon Musk is concerned… he is undoubtedly an outstanding person. This must be recognized, and I think it is recognized all over the world,” Putin said.

“He [Musk] is an active and talented businessman and he is succeeding a lot, including with the support of the American state,” he added.

Earlier this month, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, also took to the Musk-owned X social media platform, previously known as Twitter, to praise Musk’s actions regarding Starlink, Crimea and Ukraine’s forces.

Medvedev described Musk as “the last adequate mind in North America”.

Putin’s praise and Elon Musk’s Ukraine controversy

Putin’s public praise of Musk on Tuesday comes days after the entrepreneur said he refused a Ukrainian request last year to activate his Starlink satellite communication network in the Russian-annexed Crimean port city of Sevastopol to aid an attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet, saying he feared complicity in a “major” act of war.

Starlink is SpaceX’s global network of more than four thousand satellites that provide service to more than fifty countries. In Ukraine, Starlink has worked as the connective tissue for crucial battlefield communications.

According to a new biography of Musk, in an interview with author Walter Isaacson, the South African-born billionaire asked, “How am I in this war?”

Starlink was not meant to be involved in wars,” Musk said, according to the book. “It was so people can watch Netflix and chill and get online for school and do good peaceful things, not drone strikes.”

He told Isaacson that he was worried the Ukrainian attack on Russian vessels would provoke the Kremlin into launching a nuclear war. The book, titled Elon Musk, was released Tuesday.

A top aide to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky lashed out at Musk over the revelation. “By not allowing Ukrainian drones to destroy part of the Russian military fleet via Starlink interference, Elon Musk allowed this fleet to fire Kalibr missiles at Ukrainian cities,” Mykhailo Podolyak said.

“As a result, civilians, children are being killed, he added on X, which was formerly known as Twitter. “This is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and big ego.”

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