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23 Feb, 2024 07:27

Zelensky ‘cannot understand’ Trump promise

The former US president has vowed to end hostilities within 24 hours if elected
Zelensky ‘cannot understand’ Trump promise

Former US leader Donald Trump’s claim that he could end the Ukraine conflict in one day if he returns to power is not credible, President Vladimir Zelensky has said.

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Zelensky was asked about the Republican presidential frontrunner’s promise, and responded that he “can’t understand how” Trump would achieve such a goal. “He can’t solve this problem, this tragedy with me”, he stated, reiterating his invitation to Trump to visit the frontline.

Zelensky suggested that if Trump were to travel to Ukraine, he would be able to “see what’s going on” and “change his mind.” The former US president previously said it would be “inappropriate” for him to visit the country at this time, as he did not want to create a “conflict of interest” with the administration of US President Joe Biden, which is currently dealing with the crisis.

Earlier this month, however, Bloomberg reported, citing an adviser to Trump, that Washington could potentially push Kiev to engage with Moscow by threatening to cut massive US military assistance. He reportedly added that Russia could be swayed to enter talks by threatening to ramp up aid to Ukraine if it refuses.

Moscow has never closed the door to talks with Kiev. However, in the autumn of 2022, Zelensky signed a decree banning all negotiations with Putin after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Ukraine and its backers have refused to recognize the results of the referendums, calling them illegal.

In the interview, the Ukrainian leader went on to reject the idea of signing a new ceasefire deal that would be similar to the now-defunct 2014-2015 Minsk agreements, declaring that he “did not believe… in frozen conflicts.” 

Brokered by Germany and France, the Minsk agreements sought to end hostilities in Donbass by giving the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. Russia cited Ukraine’s failure to implement the deal as one of the reasons for launching its military campaign against Kiev in February 2022.

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has also admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the agreements to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.” Former French President Francois Hollande and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel have also confirmed that position.