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Zelenskyy tells Elon Musk to “come to Ukraine” after peace deal furore

origin 1Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Elon Muks to visit his war-torn country. ©Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/Hannibal Hanschke/Pool Photo via AP, File

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has once again criticized Twitter CEO Elon Musk for proposing a peace deal with Russia.

Musk generated controversy in October after he shared tips for war negotiations in Ukraine in a Twitter poll.

The US billionaire had proposed that Crimea remain part of Russia and that referendums be held in four regions of southern Ukraine under the supervision of the United Nations.

Musk also said that Ukraine must “remain neutral” and in subsequent tweets he said that “victory for Ukraine is unlikely”.

Kiev and its Western allies have criticized Russia’s “illegal” annexation referendums in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia. The Crimean peninsula was annexed in 2014.

Speaking via video conference call to the New York Times DealBook, Zelenskyy repeated his criticisms of Musk and encouraged the Tesla and SpaceX founder to visit his war-torn country.

“I think someone has influence over him or is drawing conclusions on his own,” Zelenskyy said.

“If you want to understand what Russia has done here, come to Ukraine and you will see everything for yourself. And then you will tell me how to end this war, who started it and when it can be ended.”

The Ukrainian president initially responded to Musk in October with his own Twitter poll, asking whether people preferred the Elon Musk who “supports Ukraine” or the one who “supports Russia”.

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Zelensky said he would never negotiate with Russia while Putin was in power.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow was ready to listen if anyone wanted to hold talks on Ukraine.

Lavrov also rejected claims that Russia wants to hold peace talks to allow it to rebuild its military.

Russia has denied targeting Ukrainian civilians in its latest rocket attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which has left millions of people in the country without electricity before winter.

Moscow instead blamed the Ukrainian government, saying the attacks were due to Kiev’s refusal to negotiate.