Elon Musk, chief executive officer of SpaceX and Tesla, and owner of X. formerly known as Twitter.
Gonzalo Fuentes | Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday praised Elon Musk, calling the Tesla and SpaceX founder a “talented businessman.”
Putin made the comments at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, as he spoke about Russia’s space program.
“Elon Musk … is undoubtedly an outstanding person. It must be admitted. I think the whole world admits it. He is an active, talented businessman,” Putin said, according to a Reuters translation.
Putin said Musk does business with the support of the U.S. state.
The Russian president added that Moscow is “willing to develop” support for private businesses in the country.
Putin said Russia has already done this for for its space programs under the agency Roscosmos.
The comments come after Russia’s first space launch to the moon in nearly 50 years, failed last month after the Luna-25 lander crashed onto the lunar surface.
The flop was seen as a major setback for Russia’s space program just days before India successfully landed its first spacecraft on the moon.
Musk said last week that he refused an emergency request by the Ukrainian government to extend coverage of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to Sevastopol in Crimea, a region Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Musk said that if he agreed to the emergency request “then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”
Musk’s Starlink terminals arrived in the early days of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine as Western governments worked to supply Kyiv with artillery and air defense systems.
— CNBC’s Ashley Capoot contributed to this report.