Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Elon Musk as an outstanding person and talented businessman, just days after the chief executive officer of SpaceX acknowledged preventing Ukraine from using his company’s Starlink satellite network for an attack on Russian warships.
(Bloomberg) — Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Elon Musk as an outstanding person and talented businessman, just days after the chief executive officer of SpaceX acknowledged preventing Ukraine from using his company’s Starlink satellite network for an attack on Russian warships.
“As for private business, Elon Musk, he is certainly an outstanding person,” Putin said at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday. “I think it will be recognized throughout the world. He is an active, talented businessman.”
Putin’s compliments came after Musk posted on X, his social media network formerly known as Twitter, on Sept. 7 about his decision to reject an emergency request from Ukrainian authorities to activate Starlink toward Sevastopol, the port city in Crimea.
Granting permission, Musk said, would have made SpaceX “explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”
Russia annexed Ukraine’s black sea peninsula Crimea in 2014 and launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
Noting SpaceX receives support from the US government, Putin said Russia was open to involving private investors in its space industry and vowed to continue Russia’s efforts to explore the moon despite last month’s failure of the Luna-25 mission.
Read more: India First to Land Near Moon South Pole After Russia Fails
NASA uses SpaceX rockets to take people to the International Space Station and is working with Musk’s company as part of the Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon.
Russia’s robotic spacecraft crashed while attempting to land near the moon’s south pole in August, failing in a race with India to become the first country to reach the region. The landing would have marked Moscow’s return to the moon nearly half a century after the last Soviet mission.
Read more: Russia’s Space Program Reels After Putin’s Ukraine Invasion
Putin reminded listeners Tuesday that other global space programs have faced failures too.
“It’s a pity, of course, that the lunar landing failed. But this does not mean that we will close this program,” he said. “We will continue working.”
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