Settling wars through single combat has gone out of fashion since the end of the Middle Ages, but could 2022 see its comeback? Well, tech billionaire Elon Musk has challenged Vladimir Putin to single combat, in an apparent attempt to put an end to the invasion of Ukraine.
Musk challenged the Russian president through Twitter, a medium banned in Russia. To show he was serious, he wrote Putin's name and Ukraine in Russian.
In a follow-up tweet, he tagged the "President of Russia" account, adding "do you agree to this fight?"
While Musk might stand a better chance of victory given that Putin has recently been stripped of his black belt in Taekwondo (assuming this also strips him of all his abilities in the process), Ukraine may not be too happy with being "stakes" in single combat between Musk and Putin.
More usefully, Musk has delivered a truckload of Starlink satellite dishes to Ukraine, in case Ukrainian communications infrastructure is targeted and backup Internet is needed. Admittedly, this doesn't sound as cool as ending the invasion of Ukraine by sending a random billionaire to defeat him in a duel, but might be a better role for a tech billionaire with only brief training in martial arts.
Responding to the challenge, Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, quoted the fairytale The Tale of the Pope and his worker Balda by A. S. Pushkin.
"You, little devil, are still young,
Compete with me weak;
It would only be a waste of time.
Overtake my brother first."
As always, Musk couldn't just leave it at that. Rather than quoting a fairytale back at him, Musk chose to reply using a meme of him with a flamethrower fighting Vladimir Putin riding a bear.
The head of Roscosmos's Twitter feed has become increasingly erratic since the invasion of Ukraine, posting strange memes and even homophobic jokes about French President Emmanuel Macron. Responding to Musk, he wrote "Elon, get off the toilet, then we'll talk.