The Kremlin has hailed U.S. billionaire Elon Musk’s attempt to put forward a peace plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, calling it a “very positive” sign on Tuesday.
The world’s wealthiest man outlined his proposal for a peace deal to his 107 million Twitter followers on Monday. Its terms sparked fierce backlash from Ukraine and the West, who said the prospective deal largely favored Moscow.
“We consider it very positive that a man like Musk is looking for a peaceful way out of the situation around Ukraine,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to Interfax.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder proposed a redo of last week’s referendums in four Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions that were widely panned as shams, as well as recognizing the annexed Crimean peninsula as part of Russia.
"Achieving peace without meeting Russia's conditions is absolutely impossible. Many ideas there deserve attention," Peskov said of Musk’s peace plan.
While the Kremlin dismissed Musk’s idea to hold the referendums a second time under UN observation, Peskov praised him for attempting to broker peace, unlike many professional diplomats.
“Today the president will sign decrees, and this will become the territory of the Russian Federation. But I repeat once again, the fact itself is very positive, when people such as this try to think logically about what could be done in order to establish peace," Peskov added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to Musk’s tweet by polling his followers: "Which @elonmusk do you like more?" with the options "One who supports Ukraine" and "One who supports Russia."
The wartime president then pledged that Kyiv would never negotiate with Russia as long as President Vladimir Putin remained in power, a vow that the Kremlin criticized as a roadblock to peace.
“All these proposals, even from those who have the wisdom to think about them, break down after Zelensky’s decision that it is impossible to continue any negotiations with President Putin," Peskov said.
Musk, who has in the past made overtures to Putin and sparred on social media with Russia's space chief, tweeted in March that he was challenging the Russian president to "single combat," with Ukraine as the prize.