KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday criticised US billionaire Elon Musk’s proposal to end Russia’s offensive in Ukraine and invited him to visit his war-scarred country.
In October, Musk sparked controversy on Twitter by proposing a peace deal involving re-running under UN supervision referendums in Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions, acknowledging Russian sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula and giving Ukraine a neutral status.
At an event organised by The New York Times, Zelensky on Wednesday appeared to mock the maverick billionaire’s proposal, saying he should come to Ukraine.
“I think that either someone has influence over him, or he somehow draws conclusions on his own,” Zelensky said by video link at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, referring to Musk.
“If you want to understand what Russia has done here — come to Ukraine and you will see it all for yourself.
“And then you will tell me how to end this war, who started it and when it can be ended.”
In October, the Tesla and SpaceX founder created a poll to let his more than 100 million followers vote on the idea.
Zelensky has responded with a Twitter poll of his own, asking: “Which @elonmusk do you like more?” with the options “One who supports Ukraine” and “One who supports Russia”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 in order to “de-Nazify” the pro-Western country.
He has called on Ukraine to cease hostilities and negotiate after ordering a partial mobilisation to bolster his forces and threatening to use nuclear weapons.
Zelensky has said he will never negotiate with Russia as long as Putin remained its leader.