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Elon Musk denies report that he talked to Putin recently about Ukraine war



NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 02: Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Theo Wargo | Wireimage | Getty Images

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is denying a report by Eurasia Group founder and political scientist Ian Bremmer which claimed Musk said he recently spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about, “the minimum the Russian president would require to end the war.”

Bremmer’s note went out earlier this week to clients. Investor Sven Henrich asked Musk (via his Twitter account “@northmantrader”) if the report was true. Musk responded in a tweet, “No, it is not. I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago. The subject matter was space.”

CNBC reached out to Eurasia Group and SpaceX but neither were immediately available to comment.


As CNBC previously reported, Musk posted a series of tweets earlier this month seeking support for what he thought would be the best outcome for Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Musk proposed UN-supervised votes in Ukraine about whether certain regions of the nation under siege should join Russia. He also said Ukraine should hand Crimea over to Russia, and that the nation should then remain “neutral” rather than aligning with either NATO or Russia.

Since those tweets on October 3, Musk has continued to promote the idea, on Twitter, that some Ukraine citizens would actually prefer and vote to join Russia.

Kremlin officials praised Musk for his opinion, but the SpaceX and Tesla CEO drew sharp criticism from many others including Ukraine President Zelenskyy, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham and Russia-born human rights activist and former chess champion Garry Kasparov.

Kasparov, who sought to block Putin’s rise to power and was jailed and beaten for his activism before fleeing the country, described Musk’s plan as a “repetition of Kremlin propaganda.” And “F— off is my very diplomatic reply to you,” Ukraine’s outgoing ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, wrote in response to Musk’s tweets.

Musk had previously earned hero status in Ukraine because his company, SpaceX, enabled its Starlink satellite internet service to keep parts of the country online in early days and throughout the conflict.

Publicly opining on war could prove risky for Musk and SpaceX, cautions J2 Ventures founder and Managing Partner Alex Harstrick. Before starting the fund, Harstrick was an intelligence officer in the US Army deploying to both Afghanistan and Iraq with Special Operations.


Harstrick told CNBC’s Squawk Box, “Any company that sells in a significant way to the United States of America, and specifically the Department of Defense, has to acknowledge that its CEO has a responsibility to make sure that what they are talking about in any public disclosure is consistent with the values of the United States.”

SpaceX has notched federal contracts worth more than $10.5 billion since 2003 according to data tracked by Govwin by Deltek viewed by CNBC. If the leaders of a defense contractor are seen as interfering with diplomatic efforts by the US, government agencies may be hesitant to work with them when alternatives are available, he suggested.

Musk has also recently sounded off, in an interview with Financial Times, about his vision for resolving China’s conflict with Taiwan. Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the U.S., thanked Musk for the idea in a tweet.

Source: CNBC

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