Zelenskyy Hits Trump For Enabling The Russian Invasion

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Asked during a CNN interview what he would tell Donald Trump to “help him understand the Putin you see,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed surprise at the ex-president’s consistent praise for the Russian leader, considering the easily available evidence of the Putin regime’s threats.

“I believe he had enough time, plenty of time, to understand who Putin is,” Zelenskyy remarked. “I think he was sitting at such a high position where it’s not even possible not to recognize that [Putin] is the opponent in terms of values to your own people. [Trump] has all the might of this country — intelligence, data — to create [a] psychological profile… I was surprised that even after the beginning of the full-fledged invasion, Donald Trump” offered praise for Putin. “I believe that he needs to look at this not only from the standpoint that this is a threat to Ukraine,” the Ukrainian president pointedly added. “Ukraine, in his eyes, is too far away, but this war has no distances it could not cover, so I believe he needs to look at this situation without as we say pink glasses on.”

Even after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine by Russia began, sparking a devastating, months-long conflict that remains ongoing, Trump wouldn’t fully back away from his praise for the Russian leader. “The problem is not that Putin is smart, which, of course, he’s smart,” Trump said during a speech to a Conservative Political Action Conference event. “The problem is that our leaders are dumb… and so far, allowed him to get away with this travesty and assault on humanity… Putin is playing [President Joe] Biden like a drum and it’s not a pretty thing to watch.” Trump was casting Putin as some kind of master strategist, and he — as a former U.S. president — was doing so after a devastating invasion started.

Earlier, Trump explicitly praised plans revealed in the halls of Russian leadership for Russian troops to fill a so-called peacekeeping role in eastern Ukraine. “So Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine,” Trump said, in a version of his comments shared by CNN. “I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s going to go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s the strongest peace force… We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen… Here’s a guy who’s very savvy.” Even in terms of the non-existent peacekeeping Russian troops were supposedly going to do, neither Ukraine nor any other credible authority was inviting the soldiers into the area, meaning the plans — even as described by Trump — amounted to violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. In reality, how could Trump credibly say he missed that the so-called peacekeeping plans and recognition in Russia of the supposed independence of territories on Ukrainian land were a cover for war?