In what has become a semi-regular occurrence, Elon Musk is under fire for his latest comments about Ukraine and Russia’s full-scale invasion.

What’s he said now?

Quite a few things during a lengthy online discussion about the future of Ukraine. The overall gist of what he said was that in order to avoid World War 3, the US should pressure Kyiv to surrender because the whole thing is just a bit of a silly misunderstanding and Ukrainians and Russians actually like each other and should just get along.

Which Ukrainians was he talking to?

None. The online discussion was primarily between Musk, US presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and venture capitalist David Sacks, none of whom have ever visited Ukraine.

How does Musk think the war happened?

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Musk made clear that he believes the current war in Ukraine is not due to Russia’s full-scale invasion, but is a result of western countries forcing Kyiv to fight a war that deep down, its people don’t actually want to fight – a new poll shows that a majority of Ukrainians disagree.

He said: “We should stop sacrificing the flower of Ukrainian youth in trenches pointlessly and do a ceasefire and begin the process of renormalization of relations with Russia.

“I mean they're quite literally cousins, Ukrainians have family in Russia. People in Russia have family in Ukraine.

“So, like what I'm trying to say is that these are not natural adversaries, they had their grievances, but they are quite literally family and, and I think we in the West are sort of pushing them to kill their sons.”

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 24 July 2024
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British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 24 July 2024

Latest from the British Defence Intelligence.

What does he mean by  “renormalization of relations with Russia” and “grievances”?

According to Musk, it means Ukraine should lay down its arms, reward Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine by gifting it the territories it currently occupies and then everyone should just get along.

He added: “… there is the civilizational risk that we are brewing by making Russia a pariah to the West.”

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As for “grievances,” it appears that Musk believes Ukraine and the world should just forget that Moscow launched the biggest land war in Europe since World War 2, has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and reduced entire cities to rubble.

Only then, according to Musk, can there be peace.

Is Musk right?

It’s difficult to see how rewarding aggressor states for unprovoked invasions of neighbours can lead to peace, as advisor to Ukraine's Presidential Office, Mykhailo Podolyak, explained, in a Tuesday evening post on, ironically, X (formerly Twitter):

 “Musk believes that ‘surrendering Ukraine’ to the knife of the mandatory large-scale genocide will lead us to the end of the war and ‘eternal peace.’ This is a catastrophic misconception.

“Withdrawal of support for Ukraine will certainly not end the war, but it will inevitably lead to a sharp increase in conflicts worldwide, the demise of the international law era, the collapse of the international economy, and the triumph of evil forces. There will be no rules anymore. Predictability and ability to negotiate will finally die.

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“Aggressors' appetites will grow, and terrorist groups will receive more and more investments within the Axis of Evil. All of this will culminate in a Great War on different continents, in which, in such a scenario, American citizens may likely have to participate.”

What else did Musk say?

Musk also claimed that those currently living in occupied areas of Ukraine would actually “vote to be part of Russia.”

To back up his argument, he added: “One has to ask why there is not a significant insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

“If they are so against being part of Russia you would expect to see a significant insurgency and you just don’t see that.”

“So, I think the reality is at least some parts of eastern Ukraine and Crimea actually wish to be part of Russia,” he said.

As well as glossing over a years-long campaign to Russify areas of Ukraine occupied since 2014, Musk also appeared to ignore the overwhelming evidence of a significant partisan and insurgent movement that has only escalated since February of last year.

Kyiv Post reached out to several Ukrainian partisan groups to ask them what they thought of Musk’s comments.

One, Mariupol Resistance, responded in no uncertain terms: “Ми йому б глаз на дупу натягнули. Без розмов.” This is a phrase that has no English equivalent but roughly translates as: “We would pull his eyes to his ass. No conversation.”

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