Elon Musk's comments at the New York Times' Dealbook conference drew a shocked silence
SpaceX founder Elon Musk. AFP News

Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to see the war in Ukraine through. Otherwise, he risks being "assassinated".

Musk made the shocking statement during a discussion with US Senators in a forum on X Spaces on Monday.

"If he were to back off, he would be assassinated," said Musk. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, JD Vance of Ohio, former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and co-founder of Craft Ventures LLC David Sacks were some of the people who had joined the discussion.

The billionaire has often been called a Putin apologist, but he believes that these accusations are "abusurd".

He said his companies "have probably done more to undermine Russia than anything". The statements come days after Putin heaped praise on Musk and said that "there is no stopping Elon Musk".

"He will do as he see fits. I think he's a smart person. I truly believe he is. So, you need to reach an agreement with him (on AI and Neuralink)," he told Tucker Carlson in a 2-hour-long interview. Elon Musk-led neurotechnology company Neuralink has managed to implant Neuralink's wireless brain chip in a human for the first time, the company claims. Putin, who sees Musk as unstoppable, wants rules for mind chips like Neuralink.

Musk later shared the link to the full interview on X, but did not react to Putin's praise. He praised Carlson saying, "Tucker Carlson is amazing. We need more journalism like this".

Putin may have been all praise for Musk, but the latter does not necessarily share similar feelings for him. Musk has not shied away from slamming Putin for the war in Ukraine. He even extended help to Ukraine by providing his Starlink space internet equipment.

Once, he challenged Putin to "single combat," adding that it was Ukraine that was at stake.

"I hereby challenge Vladimir Putin to single combat," he tweeted. And added that "Stakes are Ukraine." In another tweet posted in Russian, Musk asked Putin if he agreed to the fight and tagged Kremlin's official English language Twitter account in the tweet.

When his followers asked him if he had thought the challenge through, he wrote that he was absolutely serious about it.

"If Putin could so easily humiliate the west, then he would accept the challenge. But he will not," added Musk. Putin did not react to any of Musk's tweets.