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12 Apr, 2024 23:40

Trump offers conditions for Ukraine aid renewal

The former US president has called for providing only loans, not gifts, and insists that European allies match American funding
Trump offers conditions for Ukraine aid renewal

Former US President Donald Trump has said he would not be opposed to Congress approving more aid to Ukraine as long as the assistance is given in the form of loans, rather than gifts. He also insisted that European allies must match Washington’s level of assistance to Kiev.

Speaking to reporters on Friday alongside US House Speaker Mike Johnson, Trump declared his support for the embattled Republican leader. Asked if he would give his blessing for Ukrainian aid legislation if Johnson brings the bill to a vote, he said, “We’re thinking about making it in the form of a loan, instead of just a gift. We keep handing out gifts of billions and billions of dollars, and we’ll take a look at it.”

Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s presidential election and is polling ahead of incumbent President Joe Biden. He first floated the idea of converting Ukraine aid to loans in February, and he has repeatedly claimed that he will end Kiev’s conflict with Moscow within 24 hours by forcing both sides to the negotiating table.

Republican lawmakers have been blocking new aid approvals for Ukraine since last fall, arguing that Biden is merely prolonging the bloodshed while offering no strategy for ending the bloodshed. However, Johnson is reportedly ready to let a $60 billion Ukraine funding bill advance to a House vote, despite opposition from a majority of Republicans. With Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Trump ally, threatening to push for a vote to oust Johnson, the speaker traveled to Florida on Friday to meet with the former president.

“It’s not an easy situation for any speaker,” Trump told reporters. “I think he’s doing a very good job. He’s doing about as good as you’re going to do.” He added that if new US assistance for Ukraine is approved, “Europe has to step up, and they have to equalize it. They don’t equalize. I’m very upset about it because they’re affected much more than we are.”

Trump repeated his claim that the Russia-Ukraine conflict would have never happened if he were still president. Biden’s incompetence opened the door for both the Ukraine crisis and the Israel-Hamas war, Trump claimed. He added that under his successor’s leadership, “We’re a nation in decline, we’re a declining nation.”

Trump also warned that the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel could escalate dramatically even before the US election in November. “A lot of bad things are happening in our country, but that’s the least of it. You’ve got Russia – you could end up in a world war between Russia, Ukraine, and all of the chaos.”

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