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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy rebukes Musk’s peace proposal

Zelenskyy said the risk that Putin would use nuclear weapons was not his biggest fear, and that it shouldn’t be the biggest fear of the West.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine joins Andrew Ross Sorkin via video link at The New York TimesÕ DealBook Summit 2022 at Jazz At Lincoln Center in Manhattan on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. (Photo: The New York Times)

Written by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine on Wednesday invited Elon Musk to visit Ukraine to see the damage done to the country by Russian forces, saying that such a visit could help the billionaire understand the situation before making pronouncements about it. He also said he didn’t think there was any immediate threat that Russian President Vladimir Putin would use nuclear weapons as the war enters a new phase of winter combat.

Zelenskyy’s comments, made via video link to The New York Times’ DealBook Summit, were an implicit rebuke of Musk, the entrepreneur who last month proposed a peace plan for Ukraine that included ceding territory to Russia.

“If you want to understand what Russia has done here, come to Ukraine and you will see this with your own eyes,” Zelenskyy said. “After that, you will tell us how to end this war, who started and when we can end it.”

SpaceX, which Musk owns, funds the operation of the Starlink internet service in Ukraine, where it has become a digital lifeline for soldiers and civilians amid Russian attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure.

Musk backed off a threat in October to withdraw funding for the service in Ukraine. “The hell with it,” he wrote on Twitter. He added that “even though Starlink is still losing money” and “other companies are getting billions” in tax dollars, “we’ll just keep funding” the Ukrainian service.

Musk’s wealth has given him a prominent voice in geopolitics, and the Kremlin welcomed his proposal. Zelenskyy posted a Twitter poll asking, “Which Elon Musk do you like more: one who supports Ukraine, or one who supports Russia?” Musk later said in a tweet that he supported Ukraine.

During the interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin of the Times, the video link cut out, and when it resumed, Sorkin joked that Musk might have somehow cut the connection.

“I hear you,” Zelenskyy said. “Most important is that Mr. Musk will hear us.”


Zelenskyy said the risk that Putin would use nuclear weapons was not his biggest fear, and that it shouldn’t be the biggest fear of the West.

“I don’t think he will use nuclear weapons,” Zelenskyy said. “This is my opinion.”

Instead, Western democracies should be most concerned about Putin’s expansionist military ambitions, he said. If his military succeeds in conquering parts of Ukraine, he said, other neighboring democracies could be next.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

First published on: 01-12-2022 at 13:21 IST
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