Ukraine found itself in the midst of a diplomatic row on Monday following a social media post by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, which satirized President Volodymyr Zelensky’s repeated appeals for Western military and financial support in the ongoing conflict with Russian forces.
Elon Musk, who had previously provided Ukraine with vital Starlink satellite services for its military, came under scrutiny for his statements regarding the war.
The caption accompanying the meme read: “When it’s been five minutes and you haven’t asked for a billion dollars in aid.”
Presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak swiftly responded to Musk’s post on X. Podolyak stated that any form of silence or irony towards Ukraine in the current context only serves as encouragement for Russian propaganda that seeks to justify mass violence and destruction.
Ukraine’s parliamentary speaker, Ruslan Stefanchuk, also weighed in on the issue, taking a jab at Musk’s ambitious space endeavors. Stefanchuk humorously remarked that Musk’s SpaceX starship had failed within five minutes of takeoff, humorously implying that the billionaire was “up to his eyeballs in problems.”
Despite the recent social media controversy, Ukraine had previously praised Elon Musk for deploying the Starlink satellites, which played a crucial role as a communication tool for soldiers in areas where traditional telecommunications infrastructure had failed.
However, it’s worth noting that Musk had acknowledged preventing Kyiv from using Starlink to disable Russia’s Black Sea navy fleet last year. This decision had stirred some controversy at the time.
Furthermore, Musk had previously suggested a territorial compromise as a means to achieve peace, which had also drawn criticism from Ukraine.