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Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech during an event to mark the 1160th anniversary of Russia's statehood in Veliky Novgorod on September 21, 2022. (Photo by Ilya PITALEV / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by ILYA PITALEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Putin Praises Elon Musk After Ukraine Starlink Controversy

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has said that tech billionaire Elon Musk is an “outstanding person” and businessman whose company, SpaceX, has become a key player in the industry of space travel.

Putin’s public praise of Musk on Tuesday comes a few days after the South African-born, U.S.-based entrepreneur said he turned down a Ukrainian request last year to turn on his Starlink satellite communication network in the Russian-annexed Crimean port city of Sevastopol to help an attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet because he feared being involved in a “major” act of war.

Putin didn’t talk about the Starlink controversy when he spoke at a business forum in Russia’s Far East. But when asked about how well Musk’s company, SpaceX, has done at sending rockets into space, he was full of praise.

“Elon Musk is without a doubt a great guy when it comes to his private business. This needs to be acknowledged, and I think everyone understands this,” Putin said.

“He [Musk] is an active and talented businessman who is doing very well, even with help from the American government,” he said.