Kremlin propagandists have praised Elon Musk for his mockery of Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky’s appeals for military aid to fight Russian aggression.
The comments made on the Russia-1 channel follow a meme Musk shared on his X (formerly Twitter) account of a photoshopped image of Zelensky.
The caption said, “when it’s been 5 min and you haven’t asked for a billion dollars in aid,” in a variation of what is often called the “strained face meme.”
The anchor of the program 60 Minutes, Olga Skabeyeva, said the post expressed war fatigue in the U.S, amid a push by MAGA supporting Republicans to cut aid.
The U.S. has approved four aid packages for Ukraine worth around $113 billion, although The Washington Post has reported that Kyiv has only received $43 billion in military assistance and $23 billion in macro-financial and humanitarian aid.
In front of a screen showing the meme, Skabeyeva told viewers on Monday, “It’s impossible not to notice that the West is getting sick not only of Zelensky but Ukraine as a whole.”
“Elon Musk is magnificent, he is wonderful and perhaps he really is our agent,” she added in a clip shared by Russia watcher Julia Davis.
Referring to the U.S. congressional bill passed to avoid a shutdown that omitted aid to Ukraine, Skabeyeva could barely conceal her joy.
“Only recently, it was impossible to even imagine anything like this,” she said.
“Unless something changes in the next 45 days, the United States will certainly stop helping” Kyiv, added Skabeyeva, describing Ukraine as “a walking corpse.”
She also called the Tesla founder “Elon Moskal,” which means “Elon the Muscovite.”
State Duma deputy Andrey Isayev weighed in, saying that the West’s support for Ukraine was recently “consolidated” but that support “keeps on fading” and Zelensky’s recent welcome in Washington was a far cry from the standing ovation he got from lawmakers in 2022.
Musk’s meme drew condemnation for playing into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Co-founder of the International Centre for Ukrainian Victory, Olena Halushka, wrote on X that on Monday night Russia fired 31 drones and a cruise missile at Ukraine, “but Elon Musk won’t be interested in this continuous terrorism. It’s funnier to mock a sovereign state which aims for a luxury of survival.”
“Musk has lost his mind,” wrote Alexander Vindman, the Ukrainian-born former director for European Affairs for the United States National Security Council. “This is more than attention seeking.”
“Elon, don’t you have empathy?” wrote Mariana Betsa, Ukraine’s ambassador to Estonia. “Ukrainians are killed daily by Russia. We are fighting for our lives, for our families, for our country, for our freedom.”
Ukrainian academic Roman Sheremeta called Musk “a mouthpiece” of Russian propaganda as well as an “indecent human being.”
Newsweek has contacted Musk’s company Tesla by email.
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