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Elon Musk is praised by Russia’s Putin merely days after Ukraine Starlink revelation

First Musk revealed that he halted a Ukrainian military operation against Russia’s Black Sea fleet deployed in Russian-annexed Crimea and then Putin called him ‘outstanding’. Is there a connection?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not only called Musk an “outstanding person” but also recognised him as a businessman whose SpaceX company has become a key player in the space transportation industry. Putin’s public praise of Elon Musk on Tuesday follows assertion of the South African-born and US based entrepreneur that he declined a Ukrainian request last year to activate his Starlink satellite communication network in Sevastopol (the Russian-annexed Crimean port city) to provide support to an attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet, stating he feared complicity in a “major” act of war.

Putin did not once refer to the Starlink controversy (while speaking at an economic forum in Russia’s Far East) but when was queried about the success of Elon Musk’s SpaceX company in launching rockets into space, he was full of praise. “As far as private business and Elon Musk is concerned… he is undoubtedly an outstanding person. This must be recognised, and I think it is recognised all over the world,” Putin stated. “He is an active and talented businessman and he is succeeding a lot, including with the support of the American state,” Putin added.

Putin also defended former US President Donald Trump. The charges against Trump demonstrate the “rottenness of the American political system”, Putin stated at the forum. “What is happening with Trump is a persecution of a political rival for political motives.” Trump is facing quite a few criminal cases in the US, including the charge of attempted election fraud to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. He is charged with election interference In a Georgia state court while is facing charges of allegedly mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House in the federal court in Florida.

Earlier this month, Dmitry Medvedev (former Russian President), one of the most hawkish Kremlin voices when it comes to Ukraine and the prospective of a widening conflict with the West, also praised Musk’s actions regarding Starlink, Crimea and Ukraine’s forces on Musk-owned social media platform X (formerly Twitter). Medvedev labelled Musk as “the last adequate mind in North America”.

Ukrainian officials on their part have condemned Musk’s decision to protect the Russian fleet from attack by Ukraine and Elizabeth Warren (US Democratic Party Senator) has demanded an investigation of Musk’s actions. The United states of America Congress should investigate “whether we have adequate tools to make sure foreign policy is conducted by the government and not by one billionaire”, Elizabeth Warren stated on Monday.

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