On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy extended an invitation to former President Donald Trump to visit the war-torn nation.
While appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Zelenskyy invited Trump to visit the nation in response to the former president and GOP front-runner’s promise to end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours if reelected.
“I invite President Trump. If he can come here, I will need … 24 minutes to explain to President Trump that he can’t manage this war,” Zelenskyy said. “He can’t bring peace because of Putin.”
“He’s very welcome,” Zelenskyy added, but didn’t answer host Kristen Welker’s question as to whether or not Trump would “have Ukraine’s back” if reelected in 2024.
Zelenskyy also reacted to recent reporting by NBC News, which alleged that the United States and European officials have quietly begun talks around Russia-Ukraine peace negotiations, saying he is not ready to begin that dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “We can’t trust terrorists because terrorists always come back.”
Zelenskyy suggested that American soldiers could be pulled into a wider European conflict if the United States does not bolster support for Ukraine, saying, “If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack NATO countries, and you will send your sons and daughters [to fight].”
The comments reflect statements he had previously made, which drew significant pushback from Americans. In one instance, he invoked 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, and in another, he claimed that America would no longer be the leader of the world if they stopped supporting his nation.
“If they don’t support Ukraine, they will lose NATO … and they will lose their leadership position in the world,” he told Congress in February.
President Biden has recently called on Congress to support a $106 billion supplemental spending bill, allocating an estimated $61.4 billion for Ukraine, $14.4 billion for Israel, $13.6 billion for protection along the U.S.-Mexico border and about $10 billion for humanitarian aid.
However, House Republicans, under new Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) passed a spending proposal, agreeing to $14.3 billion in aid for Israel, simultaneously cutting funding from the IRS.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) refuses to bring the bill for a vote in the upper chamber, while Biden has threatened to veto it.
When asked if he feels defeated, Zelenskyy said he’s “feeling strong,” but that “doesn’t meant we want to fight all of our lives.”
“The price is high, like I said,” he said. “But we are not ready to give our freedom to this f—ing terrorist Putin. That’s it. That’s why we are fighting.”
Zelenskyy also rejected the notion that the war has reached a stalemate, saying, “I don’t think that this is a stalemate. … We have done a lot. We had a very difficult situation. They thought that they would checkmate us, but this didn’t happen.”
Zelenskyy’s comments come less than a week after a profile by Time, which alleged that many of his aides were becoming concerned at his unwillingness to sue for peace.
“Despite the recent setbacks on the battlefield, he does not intend to give up fighting or to sue for any kind of peace. On the contrary, his belief in Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia has hardened into a form that worries some of his advisers. It is immovable, verging on the messianic,” the report read. “‘He deludes himself,’ one of his closest aides tells me in frustration. ‘We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.’”
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