NewsTrump blames NATO expansion for sparking Ukraine conflict

Trump blames NATO expansion for sparking Ukraine conflict

Trump shocks again. "The war in Ukraine started because of NATO"
Trump shocks again. "The war in Ukraine started because of NATO"
Images source: © Getty Images | 2024 Getty Images

21 June 2024 16:19

Former President of the United States and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stated that, in his opinion, the war erupted due to Ukraine ignoring Russia's warnings about the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO.

Trump was a guest on Thursday's "All In" podcast hosted by financier and Elon Musk's associate David Sacks, known for his pro-Russian views. The Republican candidate stated that Ukraine joining the North Atlantic Alliance would be "madness."

During the conversation, Trump was asked if he would agree to exclude the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO as part of the negotiations to end the war in that country. In response, the former president suggested that the issue of Ukraine's potential accession to NATO might have provoked Russia to take aggressive actions against Ukraine.

"Russia does not want NATO and its forces at its border"

- For 20 years, I heard that if Ukraine goes into NATO, it's a real problem for Russia. I've heard this for a long time. I think that's why this war started - Trump said. He accused the current U.S. President, Joe Biden, of causing the conflict with his "provocative" statements during the escalating tensions before the Russian invasion.

- Biden was saying all the wrong things and one of the wrong things he was saying - "No, Ukraine will go into NATO," that's one of the many things he said. When I listened to him speak, I said, "This guy is gonna start a war." - Trump said. He added that initially, he thought Putin was massing his troops at the Ukrainian border for negotiation purposes. - But then, all of a sudden, he attacked, and I said," What's going on? - he continued.

Sacks replied, without citing any source, that during talks before the Russian invasion, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that Ukraine had a green light to join the Alliance and that the U.S. could deploy its nuclear weapons on its territory.

It's unclear where Sacks got this information. In the months leading up to the Russian assault, the U.S. administration, including Biden and Blinken, expressed a willingness to negotiate nuclear arms control. They also didn't talk about Ukraine joining NATO but rather about maintaining the Alliance's "open-door policy." A week before the invasion, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Ukraine's membership "is not on the agenda," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed it was a "distant dream."

Responding to Sacks's comments, Trump said that if he were leading Russia, he wouldn't be "too happy" hearing these alleged statements by Blinken. He added that "it was always understood, even before Putin's rule, that Russia does not want NATO and its forces at its border."

- It's always been understood that was a no-no, and now you can go against their wishes, and it doesn't mean they're right when they say that, but that was very provocative, and now it's even more provocative, and they're talking about - I hear routinely - they're talking about Ukraine entering NATO and now I hear France wants to go in a fight. Well, I wish him a lot of luck - the Republican candidate concluded.

The Kremlin uses Trump's remarks

In other parts of the interview regarding foreign policy, Trump assessed that a war with China is unlikely while simultaneously accusing Biden of being a "Manchurian Candidate" (a reference to the 1960s movie about a presidential candidate controlled by communist China). He also claimed that - similar to the war in Ukraine - the Gaza Strip war would never have happened if he were president.

Fragments of Trump's conversation about Ukraine were posted, among others, by the Kremlin agency Sputnik. Biden's campaign team also used them to attack Trump.

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