Update 5:20PM ET: In a reply to a tweet, Elon Musk denied a report that he had spoken to Vladimir Putin directly. Asked if Ian Bremmer’s claim was true, he wrote: “No, it is not. I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago. The subject matter was space.”
Bremmer subsequently reiterated his initial claims, which he first made to his Eurasia Group newsletter subscribers. Like Musk, he took it to Twitter.
“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 wrote.
Bremmer said he had been writing his weekly newsletter about geopolitics for 24 years, doing so “honestly without fear or favour and this week’s update was no different.”
He added, “I’ve long admired Musk as a unique and world-changing entrepreneur, which I've said publicly. He's not a geopolitics expert.”
Elon Musk spoke directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin before tweeting a proposal to end the war in Ukraine that would have seen territory permanently ceded to Russia, it has been claimed.
In a mailout sent to Eurasia Group subscribers, Ian Bremmer wrote that Tesla CEO Musk told him that Putin was “prepared to negotiate,” but only if Crimea remained Russian, if Ukraine accepted a form of permanent neutrality, and Ukraine recognised Russia’s annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
According to Bremmer, Musk said Putin told him these goals would be accomplished “no matter what,” including the potential of a nuclear strike if Ukraine invaded Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Bremmer wrote that Musk told him that “everything needed to be done to avoid that outcome.”
Last week, Musk posted essentially the same points on Twitter, although he suggested that the referendums in the annexed territories slammed as sham votes by Ukraine and the West be redone under supervision by the United Nations.
Musk earlier this year challenged Putin to single combat and said that he had spoken to Putin via video conference last year, making no mention of this more recent reported chat with the Russian president. He became popular in Ukraine in the early stages of the war by dispatching his Starlink internet terminals to keep the country’s military connected after Russia’s invasion.
Bremmer wrote that Musk said he had refused a Ukrainian request to activate Starlink in Crimea. According to UK newspaper the Financial Times, Ukrainian forces have reported connectivity issues as they continue their counteroffensive into areas previously held by Russian forces in the east and north-east of the country. Musk responded by criticising the FT’s reporting, saying that what happens on the battlefield is “classified.”
The Ukrainian response to Musk’s Twitter peace proposal was succinct – one diplomat told him to “fuck off,” while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted his own Twitter poll.
Meanwhile the Kremlin welcomed Musk’s “positive” proposal to end the war, while his tweets were also cited by Russian state media.
Musk says he is still pro-Ukraine but just trying to avoid nuclear war.
Tesla and Musk did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication.