Musk posted a meme on X/Twitter on Monday (October 2), appearing to mock Ukraine for asking for aid. It showed a version of a well-known meme photoshopped with Zelensky's image and the caption: "When it's been 5 minutes and you haven't asked for a billion dollars in aid."
It comes after Zelensky visited the United States in September to secure further aid. Over the weekend, aid for Ukraine was omitted from a stopgap funding measure passed by Congress in Washington to avert a US government shutdown.
But Ukrainian figures hit back at Musk for mocking this. The speaker of Ukraine's parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, wrote on Twitter/X:
"The case when [Elon Musk] tried to conquer space, but something went wrong and in 5 minutes he was up to his eyeballs in s***," an apparent reference to SpaceX's failed rocket launch in April.
Ukraine's parliament, on its official page on X, accused Musk of spreading Russian propaganda, posting its own version of the meme with a picture of Musk and the caption: "When it's been 5 minutes and you haven't spread Russian propaganda".
And Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, who has criticised some of Musk's statements in the past, said in a post on X that being silent or ironic about Ukraine played into the hands of Russian propaganda.
"Unfortunately, not everyone and not always, while being significant media figures, but being thousands of kilometres away from the war's epicentre, is able to realize what the daily bombardments and cries of children losing their parents are."