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Russia’s President Lauds Elon Musk for Denying Ukrainian Request

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, recently acclaimed tech entrepreneur Elon Musk as an "outstanding" figure in the global tech industry. Both the timing and context of these remarks compound the existing tension between Russia and Ukraine due to Musk's refusal to facilitate a Ukrainian operation against Russia's Black Sea fleet housed in the Russian-annexed peninsula, Crimea.

In his public address at an economic forum in Russia's eastern periphery, Putin bypassed the delicate Starlink controversy but was effusive in his praise for Musk's groundbreaking work through his aerospace company, SpaceX: “He [Musk] is undoubtedly an outstanding person...an active and talented businessman, and he is succeeding a lot.”

The commendation follows Musk's revelation that he turned down a request from Ukraine last year to activate his Starlink satellite communication network in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Having feared his involvement in a "major" act of war, Musk’s SpaceX was under contract from the US Department of Defense to supply Ukraine with Starlink communication services.

The praises were echoed earlier this month by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, lauding Musk as "the last adequate mind in North America" for his stance over the Ukrainian request. Meanwhile, the reactions in the States have differed, with Senator Elizabeth Warren calling for an Congressional investigation into Musk's actions.

If approved, the Ukrainian request could have seen the activation of Starlink to aid an assault against Russia's Black Sea fleet, an entity which has been involved in numerous attacks on Ukrainian targets since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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