The Kremlin on Wednesday denied reports that Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin before he tweeted his proposal for ending the war in Ukraine.
The U.S. billionaire sparked controversy last week when he tweeted a proposed peace deal involving re-running referendums on annexation under UN supervision in Moscow-occupied areas; recognizing Russian sovereignty over annexed Crimea; and giving Ukraine neutral status.
American political scientist and Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer reported Tuesday that Musk had spoken personally with Putin before tweeting the proposal.
"Elon Musk told me he had spoken with Putin and the Kremlin directly about Ukraine. He also told me what the Kremlin’s red lines were," Bremmer said.
But Musk denied this, saying he had last spoken with Russia’s president 18 months ago.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday confirmed Musk’s assertion.
“I can only confirm to you that, indeed, about a year and a half ago they had a telephone conversation,” Peskov told reporters.
Musk’s Twitter poll asking his 107 million followers to vote on his peace proposal had sparked widespread outrage among Ukrainians, while the Kremlin praised his effort.
A day after Musk’s Twitter poll, Putin finalized the annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions in a move widely condemned by the international community.
Despite Putin’s assurances that the four Ukrainian regions Russia officially absorbed into its territory would be “stabilized,” Ukraine’s counteroffensive continues to advance in the south and east.