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Elon Musk challenges Putin to a fight for Ukraine

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
March 15, 2022

On Monday, billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to a fight for Ukraine.

“I hereby challenge [Vladimir Putin] to single combat,” Musk tweeted. “Stakes are [Ukraine].”

In a follow-up tweet, Musk wrote, “Do you agree to this fight?” according to a Google translation of the post. The tech billionaire also tagged Putin in the tweet.

Another Twitter user questioned Musk’s initial challenge, writing, “Did you think this through? Or Am I missing something?”

Musk responded, “I am absolutely serious.”

The director general of Russia’s space program Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, replied to Musk’s challenge with a verse from “The Tale of the Pope and his worker Balda” by A. S. Pushkin.

“You, little devil, are still young, Compete with me weak; It would only be a waste of time. Overtake my brother first,” Rogozin tweeted.

The vice prime minister of Ukraine and head of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, suggested that Musk send Putin to Jupiter instead.

“I am sure that @elonmusk can send Putin to Jupiter,” Fedorov tweeted.

The vice prime minister posted a follow up tweet with a link asking for donations to “Send Putin to Jupiter.”

“Donate to help us build a rocket that will send a bloody dictator far far away,” the website stated. “100 mln good citizens of the Earth can send the one Evil to Jupiter. Why Jupiter? It is a gas giant and the largest planet in the solar system.”

Musk has been an outspoken supporter of the Ukrainian resistance since the Russian invasion began. In late February, Musk activated SpaceX’s Starlink satellite system for Ukraine, giving the nation internet access for as long as the war lasts.

Musk made the move after Fedorov asked the tech entrepreneur for help via Twitter.

“@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand,” Fedorov tweeted.

Hours Fedorov’s request, Musk responded on Twitter, writing that Starlink was active in the war-torn country.

“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine,” Musk tweeted. “More terminals en route.”

According to Starlink’s website, the groundbreaking system “provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe.”

“Using advanced satellites in a low orbit, Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet,” the website states. “Users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s and latency as low as 20ms in most locations.”

“Starlink is ideally suited for areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable,” it continues. “People across the globe are using Starlink to gain access to education, health services and even communications support during natural disasters.”