Billionaire Elon Musk has challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to “single combat”, with the “stakes” being Ukraine.
With Mr Putin’s name written in Russian and Ukraine written in Ukrainian, the Tesla chief executive tweeted: “I hereby challenge (Vladimir Putin) to single combat.
“Stakes are (Ukraine).”
I hereby challenge
to single combat
Stakes are Україна
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 14, 2022
“Do you accept this fight?” he added in Russian, directly addressing the official English-language Twitter account of the 69-year-old president.
The South African-born billionaire, who has been known for making outlandish comments on twitter in the past, may be biting off more than he can handle in challenging the former head of the KGB.
There was no immediate reaction from Putin, but Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov posted a mocking response on Telegram, saying: “Elon Musk: I wouldn’t advise you to test your strength against Putin.
“Your weight categories are too different,” said Kadyrov.
Musk, 50, had already offered his support for Kyiv, tweeting “hold strong Ukraine” this month while also offering “my sympathies to the great people of Russia, who do not want this” war.
Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2022
He also responded to a Kyiv plea by activating the Starlink internet service in Ukraine and sending equipment to help bring connectivity to areas hit by Russian military attacks.
Musk often raises eyebrows on Twitter. In February, he accused the US stock market regulator, which had imposed fines and restrictions on Musk and Tesla, of trying to muzzle his free speech.
And he compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler in a message supporting opponents of COVID-19 restrictions. He later deleted the post.
It must be noted that Putin is an avid judoka and attended the sport at the 2012 London Olympics.
He is a judo black belt and has co-authored a book titled Judo: History, Theory, Practice.
However, the International Judo Federation (IJF) has revoked Putin’s black belt and suspended his honorary presidency of the IJF, citing “the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine”.
Meanwhile, in a previous interview, Musk said that he had trained in kyokushin karate, taekwondo, judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu when he was a child.