Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky casts skepticism on former US President Donald Trump's assurance to swiftly resolve the Ukraine-Russia conflict if re-elected to the White House.
Responding to Trump's claim that he could hasten peace negotiations between Kiev and Moscow, Zelensky retorted, “Why didn’t he do that earlier? He was president when the war was going on here,” CNN reported. Zelensky made his remarks last Saturday during his visit to Rome.
He was alluding to the tensions that ignited in Donbass in 2014, following the expulsion of Ukraine's then-president, Viktor Yanukovych, from power. Zelensky further expressed doubts over Trump's promise, opining that no global leader could simply "have a word with Putin and end the war.”
Last month, during a CNN town hall event, Trump confidently declared that he could wrap up the conflict "in one day, 24 hours," if he secures another term in 2024. He also projected himself as the "only candidate" capable of deterring the US from getting entangled in a full-scale war with Russia, which he believes would precipitate another world war.
The US's support for Kiev is already a hotbed of political debate, with Trump and his Republican counterpart, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, questioning the billions of dollars in military aid extended over the past year. Conversely, President Joe Biden and most Democrats have pledged unwavering support to Ukraine "for as long as it takes."
Following Ukraine's allegations of Russian military atrocities in several Kiev suburbs in April 2022, peace talks between Kiev and Moscow were stalled. Russia, however, has consistently denied these charges.
Following Russia's incorporation of four Ukrainian regions post-referendums last October, Zelensky acknowledged the "impossibility" of engaging in discussions with Putin.
Despite these complexities, the Kremlin maintains its willingness for peace talks, provided Kiev forfeits claims to Russia’s newly incorporated territories and agrees to remain a neutral state outside of NATO.