Donald Trump suggested that Ukraine should have done a deal with President Vladimir Putin to prevent Russia from invading the country.
The remarks came after Trump was asked for his opinion of the photoshoot Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife, Olena, did for Vogue magazine, which has come under scrutiny given it took place while the country was at war.
“Probably not the greatest thing,” Trump said, before adding his much-repeated stance that the Russian invasion would have “never happened” if he was still president.
“He [Putin] wouldn’t have done it with me. He wouldn’t have done it. At a minimum, they should have made a deal,” Trump said.
“They could have given up Crimea. They could have done something with NATO, ‘Okay, we’re not gonna join NATO,’ and you’d have a country, because I believe Putin wanted to make a deal,” Trump said.
“And now I don’t think he wants to make a deal. I think it’s much tougher to make a deal. He’s blowing up the whole place. I mean, he’ll take over the whole place. And it’s very, very sad to watch what happened with Ukraine. Very, very sad.”
He added: “And you have hundreds of thousands of people—you may have millions of people, but you have hundreds—when you have buildings like that that are blown up, those are big apartment houses.
“And when you look at those buildings totally burned out, those people are all dead. You lost a lot of people. That’s a deal that could have been settled. Should have never happened. But if it was going to happen, it could have been settled. And he moved 200,000 troops to the border to negotiate, and he couldn’t make a deal — and now I’m not sure you can make a deal very easily.”