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Elon Musk denies speaking to Vladimir Putin about Ukraine war

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Elon Musk has denied reports he spoke to Vladimir Putin before posting a Twitter poll with his suggestions for ending Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ian Bremmer, head of the Eurasia Group political risk consultancy, alleged that Musk had personally told him about the conversation with Putin.

In a newsletter, Bremmer wrote that Musk told him the Russian president was “prepared to negotiate”, but only if Crimea remained under Russian control if Ukraine accepted a form of permanent neutrality, and if Kyiv recognised Russia’s annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

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Bremmer said the SpaceX boss told him that Putin said these goals would be accomplished “no matter what” and that there was the potential of a nuclear strike if Ukraine invaded Crimea.

But Musk has refuted this.

“I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago. The subject matter was space,” Musk tweeted.

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Last week, Musk asked his 107.7 million followers to vote on ways to resolve the Ukraine war.

The suggestions included a proposal to hold votes in parts of Ukraine occupied by Russia that the Kremlin says it has annexed. His comments were welcomed by Moscow. The multi-billionaire said: “Russia leaves if that is will of the people.”

Musk also suggested the world should “formally” recognise Crimea as part of Russia.

His initial poll caused widespread controversy.

Early in the war, the billionaire gained widespread popularity in Ukraine after sending a number of his Starlink internet terminals to the country. But his recent tweets have seen that relationship sour, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week hitting out at his Twitter polls.—BBC

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