The tech mogul, known for Tesla cars and the private space company SpaceX, tweeted about how to achieve “Ukraine-Russia peace” on Monday night.
Musk suggested: “Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.”
Moscow held four sham referendums at the end of September in areas of Ukraine it claims to have “liberated” – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – and alleges that the regions have voted to join Russia. This was a breach of international law.
The international community already rejected the results before it was announced, believing people were coerced into voting – if they were able to vote at all.
Ukraine managed to retrieve some of these areas through its latest series of successes just days after Vladimir Putin declared they were Russian territory.
But, Musk, co-founder of PayPal, continued with his proposal: “Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).
“Water supply to Crimea assured.”
The Crimea peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014, and Kyiv has vowed to get it back. It has been part of Ukraine since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Musk also suggested: “Ukraine remains neutral.”
This is arguably the most controversial part of his plan, as Ukraine has just applied to join defensive alliance NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, in a bid to protect itself against Russia’s aggression and nuclear threats.
Russia also invaded Ukraine in an unprovoked act of aggression back in February, under the guise of a “special military operation” and the unsubstantiated claim that neo-Nazis were running the country.
Musk presented this plan as a Twitter poll. More than two million people voted in less than 24 hours – and with seven hours left to go, 60.2% said they did not support it.
But, Musk was pretty determined to stand by his proposals. In response, he tweeted: “This is highly likely to be the outcome in the end – just a question of how many die before then.
“Also worth noting that a possible, albeit unlikely, outcome from this conflict is nuclear war.”
Musk’s Twitter thread comes after Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive over the last few weeks. Meanwhile, accusations that Russia is committing war crimes against Ukraine through its aggressive shelling continue to climb.
Clearly seeing that this idea hadn’t landed, Musk tweeted: “Let’s try this then: the will of the people who live in the Donbas & Crimea should decide whether they’re part of Russia or Ukraine.”
The majority (58.1%) supported this suggestion after 16 hours of voting.
Musk also pinned a tweet saying: “Russia is doing partial mobilisation. They go to full war mobilisation if Crimea is at risk. Death on both sides will be devastating.”
However, this overlooks the fact that partial mobilisation has caused anti-war protests around the country, streams of people fleeing Russia and – due to the lack of training these reserve soldiers have had – is not expected to result in any additional victories any time soon.
After significant backlash, Musk tweeted that he does not wish to be popular, but cares that “millions of people may die needlessly for an essential identical outcome”.
He also alleged that Russia has more than three times the population of Ukraine, so Ukraine’s victory is unlikely. “If you care about the people of Ukraine, seek peace.”
So, how did Ukraine respond?
Well, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelesnkyy was quick to respond with his own poll.
He asked Twitter users: “Which @elonmusk do you like more?”
The options were “One who supports Ukraine” and “one who supports Russia”.
Almost 80% of two million voters backed the former option.
Musk has history for causing a stir on Twitter. Not long ago, he was even proposing buying the entire social media platform, but a falling-out with the executives behind the company over spam accounts on the platform saw the $44billion (£36billion) deal fall through.