Ukraine has – yet again – found an unlikely champion in billionaire CEO Elon Musk, who has publicly challenged former KGB operative/sambo practitioner/karateka/8th dan Judo black belt/ Russian President Vladimir Putin to a fight.
“I hereby challenge [Vladimir Putin] to single combat… Stakes are Ukraine,” tweets Elon Musk, writing both Putin’s full name and ‘Ukraine’ in Cyrillic script.
“Вы согласны на этот бой? / Do you agree to this fight?”
The (mostly) tongue-in-cheek provocation quickly garnered the support of Kyiv mayor and Hall of Fame boxer, Vitali Klitschko, as well as Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov; the latter of whom is apparently “sure Elon Musk can send Putin to Jupiter.”
The same tweet would also draw the ire of a very unamused Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of Russian space agency Roscosmos. The Putin loyalist responded to Musk’s viral tossing of the gauntlet with an excerpt from A.S. Pushkin’s 19th-century poem: The Tale of the Priest & His Workman Balda.
“You, little devil, are still young, Compete with me weak; It would only be a waste of time. Overtake my brother first.”
Of course, being the C-suite shit-stirrer he is, the Tesla CEO fired back with a ‘Choose Your Fighter’ meme in addition to a rather generous offer for “10% more pay-per-view money.”
Cyber shenanigans aside, Elon Musk has actually provided tangible support to Ukraine outside of asking Vladimir Putin to step outside and face him mano a mano.
Day after the war had begun, the serial entrepreneur promptly answered Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov’s request for access to the SpaceX satellite-based internet service, Starlink, as the country experienced both internet and electricity outages. A shipping truck packed with the requisite Starlink terminals would arrive soon after.
“Starlink — here. Thanks, @elonmusk,” wrote Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov with visual confirmation of the aforementioned Starlink terminals.
“I’m grateful to [Elon Musk] for supporting Ukraine with words and deeds,” added President Volofymyr Zelensky.
“Next week we will receive another batch of Starlink systems for destroyed cities. Discussed possible space projects. But I’ll talk about this after the war.”
Uh, yeah… this is really the timeline we’re living in right now. Soak it in.