Russia’s UN Ambassador Refutes Trump’s War-Ending Promise

( – Russia’s United Nations ambassador has dismissed former President Donald Trump’s claims that he could end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours if reelected in November. Vassily Nebenzia told reporters on July 1 that it is impossible to solve the crisis in a day. Trump made the bold claim in May 2023, and repeated the promise multiple times during his presidential campaign.

In his one-on-one debate with incumbent President Joe Biden, Trump claimed on June 27 that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if the White House had been occupied by a US president who “was respected” by the Kremlin. Steven Cheung, communications director for the Trump campaign, has said that ending the war between Ukraine and Russia will be a top priority if the former president is reelected.

Trump prompted criticism when he threatened to not protect any NATO member that failed to reach its target of contributing 2% of its GDP to NATO defense. NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg dismissed Trump’s criticism of the alliance, announcing record levels of NATO investment in defense.

Though Trump congratulated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy when the latter was elected in 2019 and predicted that Ukraine’s economy would soon grow, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov received a warm welcome at the White House. Russia’s leaders also toasted Trump’s victory in 2016. This was in spite of NATO’s borders having already spread eastwards towards Russia.

Following Biden’s election, the Kremlin’s attitude towards the US changed. The Kremlin’s media stressed that Russia would not permit US influence in Ukraine “regardless of the cost”. With the war having lasted for over two years, however, Trump’s diplomatic efforts face greater challenges than they did during his presidency.

Nebenzia argued that an end to the war was within reach two months into the conflict in April 2022, when Ukraine and Russia were close to reaching an agreement in Istanbul. Nebenzia mentioned Putin’s promise on June 14 to order a ceasefire immediately if Ukraine rules out joining NATO and withdraws its forces from the four regions occupied by Russia.

Zelenskyy rejected the calls to surrender Ukrainian territory, but Nebenzia branded the Ukrainian leader’s peace terms “a nonstarter”. He argued that Zelenskyy needs to be “realistic” and keep in mind that worsening conditions for Ukraine on the ground would further hinder diplomatic efforts to end the war.

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