The Ukrainian authorities were outraged on Monday by a publication by billionaire Elon Musk, notably owner of the social network X (formerly Twitter), mocking President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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During the night from Sunday to Monday, he posted an ironic photo montage, supposed to show a very tense Volodymyr Zelensky, accompanied by the caption: “when it’s been five minutes since you asked for billions of dollars in aid” .
A dig in reference to the demands of the Ukrainian president, who seeks to obtain from his Western allies more weapons and financial assistance for the defense of his country.
In Kyiv, the publication was not amused. “Any silence or irony about Ukraine today is a direct encouragement of Russian propaganda, which justifies widespread violence and destruction,” responded Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhaïlo Podoliak.
Ruslan Stefantchouk, speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, responded in the same tone as Elon Musk, mocking the billionaire who “tried to conquer space” but found himself “up to his eyes in shit in five minutes, when something has gone wrong.
SpaceX, another of Elon Musk’s companies, saw its Starship rocket explode in mid-flight shortly after its first takeoff in April – which the businessman had nevertheless considered a “tremendous” first test flight.
The wealthy businessman, known for his often outrageous publications, is the head of Starlink, a satellite communications network which has been essential for the Ukrainian army.
But he has recently adopted more controversial positions on the conflict, a subject on which he comments regularly.
Ukraine and Elon Musk have a complex relationship. Kyiv had thanked him for deploying its satellites, but later became outraged when he proposed that the country cede territory to achieve peace.
Recently, the billionaire also claimed to have prevented a Ukrainian attack on a Russian navy base last year by refusing a request from Kyiv to activate Internet access via Starlink in the Black Sea, near Crimea annexed by Moscow .