MOSCOW: The Kremlin praised Tesla boss Elon Musk on Tuesday (Oct 4) for suggesting a possible peace deal to end the war in Ukraine, after Kyiv rebuked Musk for proposing terms it views as rewarding Russia.
"It is very positive that somebody like Elon Musk is looking for a peaceful way out of this situation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a conference call.
"Compared to many professional diplomats, Musk is still searching for ways to achieve peace. And achieving peace without fulfilling Russia's conditions is absolutely impossible," he added.
In a Twitter poll posted on Monday, the Tesla boss proposed that Ukraine permanently cede Crimea to Russia, that new referendums be held under United Nations auspices to determine the fate of Russian-controlled territory, and that Ukraine agree to neutrality.
Kyiv says it will never agree to cede land taken by force, and lawful referendums cannot be held in occupied territory where many people have been killed or driven out.
After Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian provinces last week, Kyiv said that it was applying to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and would not negotiate with Russia as long as Putin is president.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded to Musk's proposal with his own Twitter poll asking: "Which @elonmusk do you like more? One who supports Ukraine (or) one who supports Russia."
As of 10.30am GMT on Tuesday, Musk's original poll had garnered more than 2.5 million votes, with about 60 per cent opposed to the plan.
Peskov said on Tuesday that "bots" - phoney twitter accounts - were "actively participating in the voting". He provided no evidence.
Moscow had always been open to a negotiated end to the conflict, Peskov added. He criticised a new Ukrainian decree, signed by Zelenskyy on Tuesday, which says that Kyiv will not negotiate directly with Putin for an end to the conflict.