Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday praised South African-born businessman Elon Musk as an “outstanding human being” and businessman whose SpaceX company has become a major player in the space transportation industry.
Putin’s public praise for Musk comes just days after the U.S.-based entrepreneur said he rejected a Ukrainian request last year to activate its Starlink satellite network in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol to prevent an attack on the Russian government there fleet and said he feared complicity in a “major attack.” “Act of war.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev took to X earlier this month to praise Musk for the decision – which was heavily criticized by Ukrainian politicians – as “the last reasonable spirit in North America.”
Putin did not mention the Starlink incident in his speech at an economic forum in the Russian Far East. However, when asked about the success of Musk’s SpaceX company in launching rockets into space, he said:
“When it comes to the private sector and Elon Musk… he is undoubtedly an outstanding person. That needs to be recognized, and I think it will be recognized around the world.”
“(Musk) is an active and talented businessman and he has achieved a lot of success, including with the support of the American state,” Putin added.
The Russian leader said Moscow planned to stick with its own space program despite the failure of a lunar mission last month.