Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday invited former President Donald Trump to visit the war-torn nation.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Zelenskyy made the invitation to Trump in response to the current 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, falling short of answering host Kristen Welker’s question if Trump would “have Ukraine’s back” if reelected in 2024.
Zelenskyy also reacted to reporting by NBC News that the United States and European officials have quietly begun talks around Russia-Ukraine peace negotiations.
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The Ukrainian president said he is not ready to begin that dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, remarking, “We can’t trust terrorists because terrorists always come back.”
Zelenskyy also suggested American soldiers could eventually be pulled into a wider European conflict if the United States does not bolster support for Ukraine, according to Reuters.
“If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack NATO countries, and you will send your sons and daughters [to fight],” Zelenskyy said on NBC.
President Biden has called on Congress to support a $106 billion supplemental spending bill to allocate 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.
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But House Republicans under new Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., passed their own spending proposal to fast-track $14.3 billion in aid for Israel but commit Ukraine aid as a separate matter. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., refuses to bring the bill for a vote in the upper chamber. Biden said he’d veto it.
Asked if he feels defeated, Zelenskyy said he’s “feeling strong” and has a lot of energy but that “doesn’t mean 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 with Russia has reached a stalemate: “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.”