Russian state TV host rails against ‘war criminal’ Elon Musk
Vladimir Solovyov, a Russian state TV host, railed against Elon Musk on a recent show, calling him a “war criminal” for his company’s support of Ukraine.
Solovyov’s remarks come more than 11 months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his “special military operation” in Ukraine last February. After nearly a year of fighting, Moscow has struggled to achieve any substantial goals against Ukraine’s stronger-than-expected defense effort, which has been bolstered by Western military aid.
Throughout the conflict, Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Twitter, frequently expressed his views on the war. He also received praise from Putin propagandists last year for suggesting a peace proposal seen as favorable to Russians, prompting backlash from many Westerners.
However, that praise has since dissipated, with Soloviev denouncing Musk in a recent discussion about his company’s SpaceX donating more than 20,000 Starlink satellites to the Ukrainian military since the war began.
Solovyov described Musk as “in principle, a war criminal.”
“Well, objectively speaking, because this technology and these satellites that it provides, and these terminals, everything is now being used to create attack drones of varying degrees of power,” Soloviev said. “And we have to treat them seriously, with this space group and with everyone like this militarist Elon Musk.”
The video of the show was translated and posted on Twitter by Anton Gerashchenko, who is an adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs. It had been viewed more than 30,000 times by Monday afternoon.
The complicated history of Russian state television with Elon Musk
Solovyov’s tone has changed from last October, when Musk’s peace plan was endorsed by Russian state television. Musk’s plan included redoing elections under United Nations (UN) supervision in the four Ukrainian regions that Putin said he annexed last year, with Crimea to remain part of Russia and for Ukraine to remain neutral in international affairs between Russia and the West.
“Musk reminds us that people in these areas want to be part of Russia,” presenter Olga Skabeyeva said at the time, adding that “in general, Elon is going in the right direction.” She also nicknamed him “Elon Muskovsky”. His plan, on the other hand, was met with contempt by Ukraine.
Later that same month, Solovyov suggested destroying Musk’s satellites with nuclear weapons. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov described Starlink as an “essential part of critical infrastructure” that has enabled Ukraine to resolve energy and communications issues amid military strikes. However, Musk said SpaceX may halt the program, citing costs.
Meanwhile, Musk was criticized last month for taking a photo with Nailya Askher-zad, a pro-Putin broadcaster, during the FIFA World Cup.
Newsweek contacted Musk’s companies, SpaceX and Tesla, for comment.