Elon Musk sparks controversy with his proposal that Ukraine cede Crimea to Russia | International

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Elon Musk, the richest man in the world and famous for having few filters when it comes to saying what goes through his head, has plunged into troubled waters again. This time he has launched to propose a peace plan for the war in Ukraine. His initiative contemplates, among other things, formally handing over to Russia the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed by force in 2014. In the Kremlin, the initiative has been greeted with complacency. In kyiv it has caused deep consternation.

In a series of tweets, the richest man in the world and with almost 108 million followers on the blue bird's social network proposed a four-point plan on Monday. “Repeat elections in annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is what the people want”, is the first. Musk was referring to the consultations organized by Moscow in four occupied Ukrainian areas (Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia). The result in favor of the union with Russia, not recognized by the international community, served as an argument for Russian President Vladimir Putin to proclaim the annexation of these regions last week.

In addition, the founder of Tesla proposes that Crimea become "formally a part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev's error)", in reference to the Soviet leader who transferred the peninsula to Ukrainian territories six decades ago. The remaining two points provide for ensuring "water supply to Crimea" and ensuring Ukraine's neutrality.

Musk's thread continues: "This is very likely to end up being the end result, it's just a matter of how many people are going to die by then." The tycoon invited his followers to participate in a survey about his proposal. “Also keep in mind that a possible, though not likely, outcome of this conflict is nuclear war,” he warned. Putin has threatened to use atomic weapons in the crisis to defend Russia when Ukrainian troops have launched a major counteroffensive in which they have managed to recapture part of the territory occupied by their neighbor.

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An hour before the deadline to answer the survey closed, more than 2.5 million users had voted. 60% were against Musk's solution, while 40% were in favor.

The Kremlin applauds Musk's proposal

Among those who have welcomed the proposal is the Kremlin itself. "It is very positive that someone like Elon Musk is looking for a peaceful way to resolve this situation," said Putin's government spokesman, Dimitri Peskov, in a telephone interview with journalists. “Compared to many professional diplomats, Musk is still looking for ways to achieve peace. And achieving peace without meeting the conditions that Russia demands is absolutely impossible,” he added.

kyiv, on the other hand, has always maintained that it will never give its consent to give up territories that have been taken from it by force. It also denounces last week's referendums as illegal, since they were held in occupied territories, where many of its pre-war residents have died or have had to leave the area. After Putin proclaimed the annexation of the four regions, the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky responded by formally requesting Ukraine's entry into NATO. A presidential decree signed on Tuesday establishes that the country will not negotiate directly with Putin to find a way out of the conflict.

Zelensky has responded to Musk's tweets with his own poll on the social network. “Which @elonmusk do you prefer? —One that supports Ukraine, —one that supports Russia.” This consultation counted, two hours before its closing, with the participation of 2.3 million people, of which 79% favored Ukraine. One of Zelenski's main advisers, Mijaílo Podoliak, has also responded to the tweet of the founder of Tesla. “Are you trying to legitimize pseudo-referendums held at gunpoint under conditions of persecution, mass executions and torture? Bad way”, he wrote on Twitter.

Musk's proposal has also received other criticism. The European Commissioner for the Environment, the Lithuanian Virginijus Sinkevicius, married to a Ukrainian citizen, has also replied on Twitter that kyiv cannot do without Crimea: “Mr. Elon Musk, it is not rocket science: Russia invaded Ukraine! There is no Ukraine without Crimea, just as there is no Tesla without batteries."

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