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Business News/ News / World/  Elon Musk stirs Ukraine pot again, says US should use funds for infra projects instead

Elon Musk stirs Ukraine pot again, says US should use funds for infra projects instead

Elon Musk believes a peace deal should have been reached a year ago in the Russia-Ukraine war, and questioned the effectiveness of providing $60 billion in aid to Ukraine.

File image of tech billionaire and founder Elon MuskPremium
File image of tech billionaire and founder Elon Musk

Tech billionaire Elon Musk has chipped into the online discourse on the United States government's financial package to Ukraine, with recent his posts on self-owned social media site X suggesting that he supports calls for a ceasefire in the Russia-Ukraine war and the allocation of funds towards American infrastructure projects instead.

Replying to multiple user opinions on venture capital founder David Sacks' thread on the subject on X, Musk said a peace deal should have been "done a year ago", adding that Russia looks poised to win the war with Ukraine.

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The Criticism

Responding to an X user who wrote: "It is time for a ceasefire and peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine has lost this war and nothing will change that. Ukraine doesn't have enough men to win. $60 billion for Ukraine won't change the facts. Russia is going to keep Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine." Musk agreed and wrote: "Yes. It is just a question of how many die before that reality is accepted. A peace deal should have been done a year ago. Since then, thousands of boys have died for nothing and Ukraine’s position grower weaker by the day."

Another user who wrote: "I feel really bad for Ukraine. I really do. But it’s time to cut the losses and start talking about peace. No more money for war without making peace the number 1 priority." Musk replied: "Yeah. Imagine 60bn spent on infrastructure in the United States. High-speed rail from LaGuardia to midtown for example…"

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And to one user who questioned the Senate's initiative for the aid, writing: "I've never seen them go to the mattresses like this for any other bill, which is pathetic and tells us all we need to know. They would NEVER act this desperate for something that benefitted Americans." Musk replied: "Doesn’t make sense that they care more about a spending bill for another country than any bill that directly helps America!"

All the users were responding to an original post-thread by Sacks, where he opined that the Republican Party-led House of Representatives would not pass the foreign aid. "You can almost feel the panic online that the $61 billion won’t pass. For many, this is the last big payoff they will ever see. They will say anything to get it. They will do anything to get it. The pressure on Speaker Johnson must be enormous. I compliment him for holding firm so far. But at the end of the day, I expect something will pass. Pockets don’t line themselves. If Ukraine supporters wanted to persuade us that there’s no money laundering going on, they would have agreed to an accountant. They rejected it, twice," he wrote.

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A Repeated Sentiment

This is not the first time Musk has expressed such sentiments, speaking to US Republican senators in a forum which was held on X Spaces last week, he said “there is no way in hell" that Russian President Vladimir Putin could lose the war on Ukraine.

Notably, Musk has a personal stake in the conflict easing off, as the war has hindered services for his Starlink satellite venture.

In the forum, the discussions included opponents of a Senate bill that would provide further assistance for Ukraine to continue battling the full-scale Russian invasion that began two years ago. Alongside Musk were former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, co-founder of Craft Ventures LLC David Sacks, and state representatives Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, JD Vance of Ohio, and Mike Lee of Utah.

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Musk’s comments came as he agreed with Ron Johnson’s statement who said that those who expect a Ukraine victory were “living in a fantasy world."

“We gotta kill this thing," Vance said of the $95 billion measure, of which $60 billion in assistance for Ukraine as well as funding for Israel, Taiwan, and humanitarian aid for Gaza.

He went on to say that he hoped citizens would get in touch with their legislators on the Ukraine bill. “This spending does not help Ukraine. Prolonging the war does not help Ukraine," he said as reported by Bloomberg.

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Russia's Win Inevitable?

The billionaire had expressed similar sentiments before on X, doubting Ukraine’s ability to win the war and mocking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s requests for aid. The tech mogul has come under criticism from Ukraine and Democratic members of Congress.

He said there was pressure on Putin to see the fight through. “If he were to back off, he would be assassinated," Musk said. He told the senators he’s sometimes accused of being a Putin apologist, but said that accusation was “absurd." He said his companies “have probably done more to undermine Russia than anything."

He cited SpaceX providing Starlink internet service to Ukraine, which has been critical to the nation’s communications after Russia invaded, as well as SpaceX taking business away from Russia’s space launch business.

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His views contrast strongly with US President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who argue that aiding Ukraine’s defence against the Kremlin is in America’s interests and will help deter other autocrats from starting wars of their own.

Musk said his interest is in stopping the deaths of people on both sides of the war, adding he doubted the wisdom of seeking Putin’s ouster. “For those who want regime change in Russia, they should think about who is the person that could take out Putin, and if that person is likely to be a peacenik? Probably not." Musk said such a person would likely be “even more hardcore than Putin," as quoted by Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers including the top US Senate Republican on Tuesday urged the House of Representatives to take up a $95.34 billion military aid package for Ukraine and other allies. The measure passed the Senate in a 70-29 vote shortly before dawn on Tuesday after a hardline group of Republicans spent the night trying to block it.

(With inputs from Bloomberg and Reuters)

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Published: 20 Feb 2024, 09:09 AM IST
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