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Billionaire Elon Musk has baffled the internet after challenging Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin to “single combat”, with the country of Ukraine as the stakes.

Musk has previously joked about sending “space dragons with lasers” to Ukraine to help the country defend itself from the Russian invasion.

He was also thanked by Ukraine for providing the country with internet via SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.

But now, Musk’s interventions in the war have taken a much more direct and personal turn as his request to fight Putin seem worryingly serious.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO made the bizarre proposition in a tweet, writing: “I hereby challenge Владимир Путин [Vladimir Putin] to single combat.

“Stakes are Україна [Ukraine].”

In another tweet, he tagged the official account for the Kremlin, asking in Russian: “Do you agree to this fight?”

The post has unsurprisingly gone viral as people can’t quite believe what it is they are reading.

One person commented: “I need some of what you’re drinking brother.”

Another wrote: “Well this ought to do the trick. Problem solved everyone!”

Someone else said: “The idea that the fate/ownership of whole countries is decided by narcissistic powerful men and their egos is disgusting.

“Humanity needs to quickly evolve beyond that.”

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Another bemused reader said: “Elon Musk challenging Putin to a fight is proof we're living in a simulation.”

But, it’s definitely not a simulation, as Musk confirmed he was completely serious about his proposition.

The billionaire appears to have received support from Ukrainian Vitaliy Klitschko, who responded to the tweet with flexed biceps emojis.

Klitschko is a former professional boxer and now serves as the mayor of Kyiv – Ukraine’s capital that is under siege from invading Russian troops.

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Others commented saying that Putin, who has a black belt in judo, would easily win. But, Musk begged to differ, saying Putin won’t take on the challenge.

He argued: “If Putin could so easily humiliate the west, then he would accept the challenge.

“But he will not.”

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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