Welsh MP suggests sanctioning Elon Musk over Ukraine
Mr Bryant has been vocal in calling for sanctions to be placed on a number of individuals since Russia invaded Ukraine, including former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who was then subsequently sanctioned by the UK.
Speaking in the Commons as MPs put questions to a defence minister on the situation in Ukraine, Mr Bryant said: “Can I ask him about Elon Musk?
“Because he seems to be playing a double game at the moment, and his tweet earlier on this week I think was profoundly unhelpful.
“There are also questions about why there have been outages of the Starlink system which may have… made bigger difficulties for Ukraine.
“Is there a moment at which we might have to consider sanctioning Elon Musk?”
Defence minister Alec Shelbrooke, who appeared surprised by the question, responded: “Sanctions remain under review at all times and everything will be taken into consideration in the round.
“I think we must always make sure we’re well aware of what all the facts are, not just react to social media, and then those things can be looked at and whether any sanctions would be appropriate or not.”
Starlink is a satellite-based internet system created by Mr Musk’s SpaceX.
A story in the Financial Times last week said Ukrainian troops on the frontline have recently reported outages of their Starlink communication devices.
Some of the devices being used in Ukraine were donated by SpaceX, while others have reportedly been purchased and supplied to Ukraine by the US Government and others.
The FT quoted a Ukrainian Government official who reportedly said that outages led to a “catastrophic” loss of communications in recent weeks.
According to the report, Mr Musk and SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment, but Mr Musk subsequently said on Twitter: “As for what’s happening on the battlefield, that’s classified.”
Mr Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, argued in a tweet last week that to reach peace, Russia should be allowed to keep the Crimea Peninsula that it seized in 2014.
He also said Ukraine should adopt a neutral status, dropping a bid to join Nato following Russia’s partial mobilisation of reservists.
Mr Musk also crossed red lines for Ukraine and its supporters by suggesting that four regions Russia is moving to annex following Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” denounced by the West as a sham should hold repeat votes organised by the United Nations.
He also launched a Twitter poll asking whether “the will of the people” should decide if seized regions remained part of Ukraine or became part of Russia.
In a sarcastic response, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky posted a Twitter poll of his own asking “Which Elon Musk do you like more?” – “One who supports Ukraine” or “One who supports Russia”.
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