It would be an understatement to say that Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, is very interested in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
NATO countries and experts see this war as a battle for democracy.
“When the history of this era is written, Putin’s war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger,” President Joe Biden said on Ukraine during his March 1 State of the Union address. “While it shouldn’t have taken something so terrible for people around the world to see what’s at stake, now everyone sees it clearly.”
“In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security,” Biden argued. “This is a real test. It’s going to take time. So let us continue to draw inspiration from the iron will of the Ukrainian people.”
Musk Sides with Ukraine
“We cannot let Putin take over Ukraine. This is crazy,” the Chief Executive Officer of the premium EV maker said in March during an interview with Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer.
During the same interview, the tech tycoon explained that someone of his rank had a responsibility and should therefore use the power and influence that is his to influence the conduct of world affairs. Musk has more than 102.4 million followers on Twitter and runs several companies (Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink).
“I think I can be helpful in conflicts,” Musk said. “I try to take a set of actions that are most likely to improve the probability that the future will be good. And obviously, sometimes I make mistakes in this regard.”
“I do whatever I think is most likely to ensure that the future is good for humanity. Those are the actions that I will take.”
Among the actions taken by Musk since the start of the conflict, there is one that has particularly irritated Russia. The serial entrepreneur decided to provide Starlink antennas, the satellite internet access service of his other company SpaceX, to Ukraine when the country’s telecommunications infrastructure had been largely destroyed by Russian bombings.
Starlink guarantees secure Internet access and thus appeared as a response to the Russian communication machine around this war because Ukrainians could communicate freely with the outside world and give their version of events.
The entrepreneur also went so far as to propose a duel to Putin, in an attempt to end the war. This proposal had earned him threats on his life from the Russian president’s loyalists. Putin never responded to the offer.
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Musk’s support for Ukraine has never wavered. And he has just demonstrated it again by ringing the alarm bell at a time when the heat wave hitting the West is dominating media coverage to the detriment of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
Europe Has Its Priorities Wrong
He thus takes up the famous formula: the weight of words, the shock of images.
On July 29, he tweeted a photo to sum up his concern. In the photo, we see a mother in a swimming pool with what appears to be two of her children. The mother is the internet or the West, one of the children, a little girl, is the heat wave affecting Europe and the other child, a little boy, represents the war between Russia and Ukraine.
The mother seems focused on the little child she is lifting out of the water. On her left, the little child seems to be drowning but she pays no attention. The message here seems clear: Europe or the West focuses on a minor problem, the heat wave, and forgets a much bigger problem, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
That’s what you see on the surface. To further solidify his argument and criticism, Musk split the image into two: Below is a skeleton on a chair on the seabed. The skeleton appears to be the covid-19 pandemic. Basically, this is no longer a current concern, replaced by the heat wave.
The message is clear: the West must review its priorities before it is too late. The Russian war in Ukraine seems to be priority No. 1 for Musk because not only is it a question of democracies against autocracies but also because it affects the energy independence of Europe as winter approaches.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, depends on Russia for nearly half of its gas supply.
Russian gas company Gazprom ( (OGZPY) ) announced in a statement posted on Telegram on July 30 that it had suspended its gas deliveries to Latvia, without providing details.
A spokesman for Latvian energy company Latvijas Gaze, however, said on Friday that Latvijas Gaze buys gas from Russia but not Gazprom, declining to name its supplier because of business secrecy.
In addition to Latvia, several other European countries have been deprived of Russian gas from Gazprom in recent months: Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The announcement comes as Gazprom drastically reduced deliveries of Russian gas to Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline this week, citing the need for turbine maintenance, as European countries scramble to fill their reserves for winter.
Westerners accuse Moscow of using the energy weapon in retaliation for the sanctions adopted after the invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin ensures, for its part, that the sanctions are at the origin of technical problems of the gas infrastructure and that Europe therefore suffers from the measures which it imposes on Russia.
The Russian war in Ukraine left tens of thousands dead, according to the BBC. It is difficult to give an exact count at this time. Millions of people have been displaced.