Donald Trump Vows To Settle Ukraine Conflict Before Inauguration

Former US President and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed to end Ukraine conflict “before coming into office” if he wins the November presidential election. He made the statement, while campaigning in New Hampshire three days ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary election, adding that his close relations with both Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky will help him settle the disagreements between the two nations.

Donald Trump is currently 54 points ahead of his only two opponents for the Republican presidential nomination, former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average polling data indicators. Trump also beats incumbent US President Joe Biden in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up in most of the polls published as of January 2024, which means that he is most likely to return to the White House in January 2025.

Trump has been very vocal about his views on the conflict in Ukraine. He first made a statement in May 2023 at a Republican presidential town hall hosted by CNN, saying that he will settle the conflict “in 24 hours”, adding that both Putin and Zelensky have “their strengths and weaknesses”, which will presumably allow him to strike a deal to end the bloodshed. He reiterated his claims in Iowa after winning the first Republican presidential primary, adding that the conflict “would not have happened”, if he were President. Trump has continuously refused to outline his peace plan due to confidentiality reasons.

This comes, as the United States is gradually beginning to prepare for the November presidential election, which inevitably leads to less attention being directed towards the country’s foreign policy.

trump-to-end-ukraine-conflictUkraine’s top officials have already expressed concern over the current political climate in the United States. President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an interview to the UK’s Channel 4 News, in which described Trump’s rhetoric on stopping the conflict as “very dangerous”. “He [Trump] is going to make decisions on his own, without … I’m not even talking about Russia, but without both sides, without us”, said Zelensky, expressing concern over former US President’s willingness to impose a deal that would not follow Zelensky’s “peace formula”. Still, Ukraine President invited Donald Trump to visit Kyiv, Ukraine and talk to him about his plan to end the conflict.

Zelensky’s concerns were contrasted by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s calmness, as he spoke at Davos about his views on Trump’s determination to solve the conflict. “Do I believe there is potential for Putin and Trump to agree on something behind Ukraine’s back if Trump becomes President? I don’t”, said Kuleba, adding that it was Trump who imposed sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline and sold first lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Russia’s reaction to Trump’s comments has been rather cautious. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said there were no reasons to believe the United States will change their Russia policy if Trump wins the election. The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “the Ukraine conflict is too complicated a problem to solve it in 24 hours”, commenting on Trump’s May 2023 remarks. However, he also stated that President Putin is ready to work with “anyone who understands that Russia’s concerns should be accounted for”.

All of this is happening against the background of American congressmen’s unwillingness to provide new military aid to Ukraine. Joe Biden’s top aides reportedly met with lawmakers last week and said that if Congress fails to authorize additional military aid, Russia could win the war in a matter of weeks or months. Specifically, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the situation is “incredibly stark”, as Ukraine is quickly running out of certain air defence and artillery supplies.

Donald Trump also opposes sending weapons to Ukraine, as he believes the country should focus on more important long-term threats, specifically the security situation in the South China Sea. Stopping the infinite funding of Ukraine will allow the United States to free up resources to contain China and prevent a situation described as “imperial over-stretch”.

The US’ potential new strategy under the new President will imply that Ukraine’s ability to defend itself will increasingly depend on the position of European states that are immersed in deep economic, political, and identity crises. In this context, Ukraine has seemingly already found a new ally in the region. The UK has significantly scaled up its involvement ever since the first signs of the US’ fatigue emerged, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visiting Kyiv and signing a new agreement on military cooperation with Ukraine.

The conflict in Ukraine has been going on for almost two years. As of now, neither party is ready to make concessions, as Ukraine stubbornly attempts to reclaim its former territories that are already deeply integrated into the Russian social, political, and economic systems. Ukraine proposes its 10-point peace plan, which Russia unequivocally rejects.

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