A Ukrainian MP has invited Elon Musk to Ukraine so he can “become a witness to [Russia’s] atrocities,” and educate himself so he stops “writing about things he doesn't know much about.”
People’s Deputy and Head of the Committee on Foreign Policy, Oleksandr Merezhko, told Kyiv Post he was ready to host the billionaire, adding: “I’m ready to host him and I'm sure many of my colleagues would like to meet him.”
Musk has caused outrage in Ukraine and across the world in recent days with a series of social media posts belittling the Ukrainian president and his country’s plight in the war against Russia’s full-scale invasion and the uncertainty around continuing US aid to Kyiv.
“The real problem is his ignorance about the real situation in Ukraine,” Merezhko said. “I believe that if had visited Ukraine, he would never have said or written anything like that.”
Merezhko invited Musk to visit the scenes of Russian atrocities like Bucha, Irpin and Chernihiv, saying: “When you become a witness to these atrocities, it changes people and that's why I think it's necessary for Elon Musk to come and to see for himself.”
Musk’s reputation in Ukraine since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion has been somewhat of a rollercoaster – for the first few months of the war he was hailed a hero and his face adorned posters around the country for his work in supplying Starlink internet systems.
But by October, after proposing a peace plan that would allow to Russia annex occupied areas of Ukraine, those same posters were being torn down.
Since then, Musk’s statements have only served to further outrage Ukrainians, culminating in this week’s social media posts.
Adding to the furore, it was revealed last month that he had prevented a Ukrainian attack on a Russian Navy base last year by declining Kyiv's request to activate internet access in the Black Sea near Moscow-annexed Crimea.
But Merezhko believes all is not lost for Ukraine’s relationship with Musk, saying he doesn’t think he is actually opposed to the US sending further aid to Ukraine.
“I don't think he's against providing financial or military aid to Ukraine, he's calling it into question – he thinks like a businessman,” he said.
Merezhko said Musk needs to understand that aid to Ukraine is actually “the best investment” the US can make in its own security and if Ukraine is defeated, the US will end up paying even more in the long term.
He added: “It's very sad what's going on – in the beginning it was perfect and he provided us with the necessary support which we desperately needed and we should be grateful to him for that and we shouldn't forget about that despite his recent 'jokes.'”
“I still believe that he can still be our true friend.”
If Musk accepts the invitation, Merezhko said he is free to “ask any question” and that he would tell him of his own experiences of the war.
“For many people living abroad, they just cannot imagine what it's like here,” he said. “For them, it's just pictures on the news and it's something very abstract that they can place as being very far away and as being not their war.”
“But people should realize that it's their war. it's a war of Europeans, it's a war of Americans, it's a common war, because we're fighting not only against Russia, we're fighting against a broad coalition of authoritarian regimes.”
“Ukraine is a testing ground and if we fail, the whole world of democracy will begin to fail.”
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