Russian President Vladimir Putin has lauded tech billionaire Elon Musk as an “outstanding person” and a successful businessman. Speaking at an economic forum in Russia’s Far East, Putin commended Musk’s SpaceX company for its achievements in the space transportation industry. Putin also acknowledged the support Musk receives from the American state.
While Putin did not directly reference the controversy surrounding Musk’s Starlink satellite network, his praise of the entrepreneur is noteworthy. Musk recently revealed that he had rejected a Ukrainian request to activate Starlink in the Russian-annexed Crimean city of Sevastopol, fearing it could result in complicity in a major act of war.
Putin also took the opportunity to defend former US President Donald Trump, characterizing the criminal cases against him as politically motivated persecution. Putin criticized the American political system, stating that the charges against Trump highlight its “rottenness.”
Earlier in the month, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised Musk on the social media platform X (previously known as Twitter), expressing support for his actions regarding Starlink and Ukraine. Medvedev referred to Musk as “the last adequate mind in North America.”
Ukrainian officials and US Democratic Party Senator Elizabeth Warren have criticized Musk’s decision to protect the Russian fleet in Crimea. Warren has called for a congressional investigation into Musk’s actions, questioning whether foreign policy should be conducted by the government rather than by one billionaire.
Musk’s SpaceX has secured a contract from the US Department of Defense to provide Starlink satellite communication services to Ukraine. Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, maintains its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol and has used it to blockade Ukrainian ports. The fleet has also launched cruise missiles at Ukrainian civilian targets, prompting retaliatory strikes by Ukraine.
Musk, in a post on X, explained that agreeing to Ukraine’s request would have implicated SpaceX in a major act of war and conflict escalation. He emphasized that at no point did he or anyone at SpaceX promise coverage over Crimea.