Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denied reports that he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin before doling out a peace proposal on Twitter to end the ongoing war in Ukraine.
"No, it is not. I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago. The subject matter was space," Musk tweeted.
A VICE News report earlier said the world's richest man directly spoke with Putin before tweeting his Ukraine peace proposal on the microblogging website.
Musk last week drew backlash from Ukrainian officials, including Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for his tweets advising how to bring about "peace" amid the war between Moscow and Kyiv.
Musk through his official Twitter handle tried out a Twitter poll to end the Russian actions in Ukraine. Tesla CEO floated a number of ideas to solve the conflict, asking his followers to vote "yes" or "no" on his proposals, which included formally allowing Russia to annex Crimea.
"In a mailout sent to Eurasia Group subscribers, Ian Bremmer wrote that Tesla CEO Musk told him that Putin was 'prepared to negotiate,' but only if Crimea remained Russian if Ukraine accepted a form of permanent neutrality, and Ukraine recognised Russia's annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia," the Vice report said.
As per Bremmer, Musk said Putin told him these goals would be accomplished at any cost and even at the potential risk of a nuclear strike if Ukraine invaded Crimea. He wrote that Tesla CEO told him that "everything needed to be done to avoid that outcome."
Earlier, irked over the billionaire's comments, Ukraine's former Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk had lashed out at Musk.
"F*** off is my very diplomatic reply to you," Melnyk said in a Tweet. "The only outcome that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f***ing tesla crap. So good luck to you," he said in another tweet.
Putin last week formally announced the annexation of four regions - Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and claimed that "this is the will of millions of people."
On February 24, Russia began a special military operation in Ukraine after the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics requested help in defending themselves. What followed the military operation was a slew of sanctions imposed by the western countries targeting the Russian economy.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)