He has been silent on this issue but there is no doubt that the Russian war in Ukraine, which continues for almost 16 months, is an obsession for Elon Musk.
The conflict, which started with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022, propelled the billionaire entrepreneur on the geopolitical scene. It made him a global CEO, or a world leader who whispers in the ears of the powerful.
Musk owes this notoriety and power to Starlink, the satellite internet access service developed by SpaceX. Musk founded SpaceX, a company that develops satellites and rockets including Starship, the largest rocket in the world that is supposed to conquer planet Mars.
Starlink is playing a decisive role in this war, presented as the clash between democracies and dictatorships. The first camp is represented, according to the West, by Ukraine and its supporters via NATO.
Musk The Diplomat
In the same perspective, Russia symbolizes dictatorships. Its victory would therefore be tantamount to admitting the victory of autocracy over freedom, say Ukraine and its supporters.
Musk has helped by providing Starlink to Ukraine. The service has allowed Ukrainians to stay connected to the world and tell their stories, while Ukrainian forces use it for sensitive communications. Starlink is difficult to hack, which poses a problem for Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, who had hoped that the destruction of the Ukrainian communication infrastructure would give Russia an advantage in the communication and espionage war.
Musk no doubt felt that the conflict will be short and that a peaceful solution would be sought soon enough. The billionaire placed himself in the role of mediator by proposing, last October, a controversial peace plan which was rejected by Ukraine because it was deemed pro-Russia.
Criticized from all sides, the tech tycoon gave up the role of mediator. He then attacked U.S. diplomats and in particular the U.S. Undersecretary of State for political affairs, Victoria Nuland, whom he accused of being a warmonger.
‘How Does This End?’
The hope of an imminent peace has further moved away in recent days, with the launch of the Ukrainian counter-offensive. The Kyiv army’s counter-offensive has begun, at least as far as its most dynamic land phase is concerned. Counter-offensive operations are underway throughout the Ukrainian stage, said the American think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), renowned for its comprehensive coverage of the conflict, in an analysis published on June 8, warning that first setbacks are to be expected for the Ukrainian troops given the density of the Russian defense lines.
“Counteroffensive and defensive actions are being taken in Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed on June 10 at a news conference in Kyiv, with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. “At what stage, I will not disclose in detail.”
This counter-offensive is not being carried out in one location but in several, some 1,000 kilometers from the front line, which has not moved significantly since the beginning of the war.
It is in this context that the Department of Defense (DoD) announced on June 9 an additional $2.1 billion security assistance package for Ukraine, containing more air defense and ammunition capabilities.
The capabilities contained in the package include additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems, HAWK air defense systems and missiles, additional artillery rounds and other items, the Pentagon detailed in a statement. In total, the U.S. has provided more than $39.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
These military expenses which continue to increase, just pushed Musk to ask a question.
“How does this end?” the billionaire asked on June 9. “Not wishful thinking. I mean in reality.”
The billionaire’s question suggests that both sides have gone too far and are blinded by their ideology, refusing to see reality. It also seems to suggest that the two sides do not favor a way out of the war. Besides Musk, China, France, Brazil and other countries have attempted some mediation, but have so far been unsuccessful.