Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for the first time, has openly expressed concerns about Donald Trump’s claim that he could resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict in one day if he were to return as the President of the United States.
In an interview with Britain’s Channel Four News, aired on Friday, Zelensky labeled Trump’s assertion as “very dangerous,” highlighting that Trump has not disclosed his plan for the post-war scenario.
Zelensky acknowledged the possibility that Trump’s statement might be mere political posturing, or as he termed it, a “political message.”
However, Zelensky expressed significant worry about the prospect of Trump, as president, making unilateral decisions that could be detrimental to Ukraine and its people, and his determination to implement them regardless.
Trump’s tendency to issue bold declarations on international affairs resurfaced in May of the previous year. In a conversation with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, he claimed, “If I’m president, I will have that war settled in one day, 24 hours.”
When questioned about his strategy, Trump suggested meeting with both Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He told Collins that by leveraging their strengths and weaknesses, he could resolve the conflict within 24 hours.
Zelensky has typically refrained from openly criticizing Trump, avoiding taking sides in the divide between Democrats and Trump’s Republican supporters, who have been instrumental in blocking further U.S. financial support for Ukraine.
At the Davos conference earlier in the week, when a journalist posed a similar question, Zelensky responded rhetorically, questioning how Trump would react if Putin aggressively expanded into Ukraine and threatened NATO members, especially if Trump withdrew U.S. support.
Many believe that Putin would welcome a Trump victory in the November elections, seeing it as an opportunity to at least maintain his territorial gains in Ukraine and claim victory.
In contrast, Zelensky insists that any peace agreement must include the withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukrainian territories occupied since 2014, including Crimea.
Ukraine’s bargaining power towards this goal has been considerably weakened, at least in the short term, due to the unsuccessful summer counteroffensive.
Nevertheless, both the Biden administration and NATO have emphasized that Ukraine will not be forced into any agreement with Russia, encapsulated in the principle: “Nothing about Ukraine, without Ukraine.”
Given the opportunity in the Channel Four News interview to invite Trump to Ukraine, Zelensky promptly did so.
Looking into the camera, Zelensky extended an invitation, saying, “Please, Donald Trump, I invite you to Ukraine, to Kyiv. If you can stop the war in 24 hours, I think it will be reason enough to come.”
Turning back to the interviewer, Zelensky added, “Maybe Donald Trump really has some idea, a real idea, and he can share it with me.”