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Day 234: Musk Briefly Appears on Ukraine 'Kill List'; Putin Describes His Actions in Ukraine 'Correct and Timely'

    Day 234: Musk Briefly Appears on Ukraine 'Kill List'; Putin Describes His Actions in Ukraine 'Correct and Timely'
    Updated Oct 17, 2022
    Image credit: AP News

    Facts

    • Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, briefly appeared on a website described as a Ukrainian "kill list" after reports suggested he may withdraw funding Starlink satellite internet terminals – the primary means of communication for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Musk's name was removed after the post started to gain attention on social media.[1]
    • The website, Myrotvorets – Ukrainian for "peacekeeper" – frequently features profiles of those who've voiced criticism of the country, including Western journalists, Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, and Darya Dugina, who was assassinated in a car bomb in the outskirts of Moscow earlier this year.[2]
    • Elsewhere, speaking to reporters following an economic conference in Kazakhstan on Friday, Russian Pres. Putin said he "did not set out to destroy Ukraine," describing his actions as "correct and timely." He said: "What is happening today is unpleasant, to put it mildly. But we would have had all this a little later, only under worse conditions for us, that’s all. So my actions are correct and timely."[3]
    • Putin also acknowledged criticism of the country's mobilization drive after reports surfaced that some new recruits were sent to the front lines with inadequate training or equipment. He said Russia's Security Council would be assigned "to conduct an inspection of how mobilized citizens are being trained."[3]
    • Meanwhile, Russia reportedly launched renewed strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure in the Kyiv region on Saturday, which Ukrainian officials said may lead to rolling blackouts. Russian attacks were also reported in the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk, where two civilians were reported injured.[4]
    • Elsewhere, pro-Russia separatists in the Donetsk region reported that seven civilians were killed and 27 others injured in Ukrainian attacks during the past week.[5]

    Spin

    Narrative A

    Starlink's internet satellites have widely been described as a "game changer" for Ukraine, and Elon Musk has already donated upwards of $80M of its services to the country for free. Placing him on the kill list was a poor move.

    Narrative B

    Despite Musk's attempts to look like a hero, his companies are heavily subsidized, and SpaceX's Starlink satellites are already funded mainly by government entities. In a cheap move, the billionaire is clearly trying to pass what's left of the bill to someone else while still taking credit.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 4% chance that Elon Musk will hold major political office in the United States before February 2033, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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