In an unexpected turn of events, Ukraine’s parliament and its speaker have engaged in a meme battle with billionaire Elon Musk. The dispute arose after Musk posted a meme on his social media platform, taking a light-hearted jab at President Volodymyr Zelensky’s appeals for wartime assistance from the West.
Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, plays a crucial role in Ukraine’s defense efforts through the provision of Starlink satellite communication services. However, his statements have occasionally sparked controversy in Kyiv since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February of the previous year.
In his meme, shared on his platform “X” (formerly known as Twitter), Musk depicted Zelensky with the caption: “When it’s been 5 minutes and you haven’t asked for a billion dollars in aid.”
Throughout the war, President Zelensky and his top officials have tirelessly called on their allies to secure billions of dollars in military aid to confront and repel Russia’s invasion.
Ukraine’s parliament speaker, Ruslan Stefanchuk, responded to Musk’s meme with a post on the same platform, alluding to SpaceX’s failed rocket launch in April. He wrote, “The case when …(Elon Musk) tried to conquer space, but something went wrong, and in 5 minutes he was up to his eyeballs in trouble.”
Not to be outdone, Ukraine’s parliament, on its official X page, accused Musk of spreading Russian propaganda. They shared their version of the meme, featuring a picture of Musk with the caption: “When it’s been 5 minutes and you haven’t spread Russian propaganda.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser who has previously criticized Elon Musk’s statements, voiced concern on X that remaining silent or making light of Ukraine’s situation played into the hands of Russian propaganda. He reminded readers of the daily hardships faced by Ukrainians, including relentless bombardments and the cries of children losing their parents.
Earlier in the war, Ukrainian officials had criticized Musk for suggesting that they consider giving up land for peace—a stance firmly rejected by Kyiv.
President Zelensky’s visit to the United States in September aimed to secure further aid, but over the weekend, aid for Ukraine was excluded from a stopgap funding measure passed by the US Congress to prevent a government shutdown.
The United States has been Ukraine’s largest single donor since Russia’s full invasion, providing tens of billions of dollars in military and financial aid.
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