Former US President Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to express a preference for either Ukraine or Russia to emerge victorious in the ongoing conflict.
“I don’t think in terms of winning and losing. I think in terms of getting it settled,” Trump said in a CNN town hall, state of New Hampshire.
“I want everybody to stop dying. They’re dying. Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying. And I will have that done,” Trump said, opposing the establishment of Republican policy of backing Kyiv.
“I will have that done in 24 hours. I will have it done. You need the power of the presidency to do it,” he added.
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In the town hall event, Trump asserted that he had the ability to bring an end to the conflict that started in February 2022 by engaging in direct negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zalensky.
“I will meet with both presidents. They both have weaknesses and strengths. And within 24 hours, that war will be settled. It will be over,” Trump said.
At a different point, he chose not to answer whether he believes that Russian President Putin should be considered a war criminal for his alleged involvement in atrocities committed in Ukraine.
“If you say he’s a war criminal it’s going to be a lot tougher to make a deal to make this thing stopped,” he said.
“If he’s going to be a war criminal, people are going to grab him and execute him, he’s going to fight a lot harder than he’s fighting under the other circumstance. That’s something to be discussed at a later day.”
Trump also expressed his belief that President Putin erred by invading Ukraine. When pressed for details, he explained that Putin’s mistake was going into Ukraine and that he would never have done so if he (Trump) had been in office.
Trump, 76, has declared his intention to run for President again in 2024 and is considered a leading contender for the Republican Party’s nomination.