Trump praises Putin
Former US President Donald Trump has praised Russia’s Vladimir Putin for his strategy in eastern Ukraine, arguing that the Russian leader outmaneuvered Joe Biden by declaring the breakaway republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) to be sovereign states.
“I went in yesterday, and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius,’” Trump told radio host Buck Sexton in an interview on Tuesday. “Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine – of Ukraine – Putin declares it as independent.” He added sardonically, “Oh, that’s wonderful.”
Trump was referring to Putin’s announcement on Monday that Russia would immediately recognize the sovereignty of the DPR and LPR, which declared their independence after a US-backed overthrow of Ukraine’s elected leadership in 2014. The Russian president followed that decision by getting parliamentary approval on Tuesday to send Russian forces into the Donbass as peacekeepers for the DPR and LPR. However, he later clarified that the authorization did not mean Russian troops would be deployed to the republics immediately.
The former US commander-in-chief said such a turn of events never would have happened if he were still in office, accusing his predecessor of incompetence while referring to Russia’s Donbass move, including Moscow’s potential peacekeeping mission, as “smart.”
“That’s the strongest peace force – we could use that on our southern border,” Trump quipped. “That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re going to keep peace all right.”
Biden on Tuesday announced economic sanctions against Moscow and deployments of US forces in the Baltic region in response to what he called “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.” Trump argued that Russia is essentially grabbing territory without serious repercussions, which he said was due to Putin being a “savvy guy.”
“Here’s a guy who’s very savvy, I know him very well...” Trump said. “Here’s a guy that says, ‘You know, I’m going declare a big portion of Ukraine independent.’ He used the word ‘independent.’ ‘And we’re going to go out, and we’re going to go in, and we’re going to help keep peace.’”
You’ve got to say, that’s pretty savvy. And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. Now, it’s very sad.
Asked by Sexton how the US strategy has gone off course on Ukraine, Trump said, “What went wrong was a rigged election, and what went wrong is a candidate that shouldn’t be there, and a man that has no concept of what he’s doing.”