Trump calls Putin’s seizure of Ukrainian territory a ‘genius move’

Former president makes comments after weeks of tensions in Ukraine

John Bowden
Wednesday 23 February 2022 14:49
Comments
Donald Trump: Putin liking Trump is an asset not a liability

Former President Donald Trump has finally broken his silence on the ongoing issue of tensions with Russia over its military buildup near Ukraine as Russia announces that troops will move into the disputed Donbas region which Russia annexed in 2014.

In an interview with Clay Travis and Buck Sexton at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the former president heaped praise on Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, and expanded on a statement he issued via his office earlier in the day claiming that Mr Putin would never have triggered the current crisis under his leadership.

Mr Trump explained to the two conservative hosts that Mr Putin’s decision to recognise the Donbas region as “independent” was in fact a “genius” move, an echo of the effusive praise he heaped on his Russian counterpart while president.

“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine – of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” said Mr Trump, crowing about the Russian leader’s supposed strategic brilliance.

“I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper,” Mr Trump went on, before quipping that the massive Russian military buildup in Russian and Belarusian territory amounted to “the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen”.

Mr Trump then went on to claim that “this never would have happened” with his administration, and claimed erroneously that President Joe Biden had no response to the latest developments in the region. In fact, Mr Biden unveiled a new list of sanctions he said his administration would put in place immediately, taking the same step that Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the UK and Canada’s Justin Trudeau) did following Moscow’s announcement on Tuesday.

The US president also announced that his administration would go through with his threat to work with Germany’s government to end the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which was set to carry natural gas from Russia to Europe.

“And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. No, it’s very sad. Very sad,” claimed Mr Trump.

Tuesday marked the first of Mr Trump’s comments on the matter of Ukraine in weeks as he has largely continued to focus his attention on the 6 January committee in the House and his own efforts to assert control over the Republican Party.

The issue represents shaky political ground for the former president who was found to have benefited from secret Russian efforts to denigrate Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 and who personally faced impeachment in 2020 for his efforts to persuade Ukraine’s president to open a criminal investigation that would be politically damaging to Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election.

Mr Trump also famously was accused of not standing up to Mr Putin and presenting a firm show of opposition to Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election after the two met during his presidency. At one joint press conference with Mr Putin in 2018 following a joint summit between the two leaders, Mr Trump sided with the Russian leader against his own intelligence agencies regarding whether Moscow interfered in the campaign.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in