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Trump offers to lead Russia-Ukraine peace talks

Former President of the United States Donald Trump at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., July 24, 2022. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
September 29, 2022

Former President Donald Trump offered to “head up” a group to facilitate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine on Thursday, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has passed the seven-month mark.

In a post on his Truth social media platform on Thursday, Trump reacted to news that a pair of Russian natural gas pipelines had suffered significant leaks as a potential result of sabotage. In his Truth post, Trump called on U.S. “Leadership” to take a “cool, calm and dry” approach to the “SABOTAGE” of the Russian pipelines.

Trump said:

U.S. “Leadership” should remain “cool, calm, and dry” on the SABOTAGE of the Nord Stream Pipelines. This is a big event that should not entail a big solution, at least not yet. The Russia/Ukraine catastrophe should NEVER have happened, and would definitely not have happened if I were President. Do not make matters worse with the pipeline blowup. Be strategic, be smart (brilliant!), get a negotiated deal done NOW. Both sides need and want it. The entire World is at stake. I will head up group???

Trump’s offer to act as an intermediary for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine comes as President Joe Biden’s administration has not sought to initiate any peace negotiations of their own. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

In a Feb. 22 interview with radio show hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton, Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin had been “pretty savvy” to declare two separatist areas of eastern Ukraine as sovereign and then send troops across Ukraine’s borders under the pretense of peacekeeping in the region, without eliciting a response from Biden.

“This never would have happened with us,” Trump told Travis and Sexton. “Had I been in office, not even thinkable. This would never have happened. But here’s a guy that says, you know, ‘I’m gonna declare a big portion of Ukraine independent,’ he used the word ‘independent,’ ‘and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace. You gotta say that’s pretty savvy. And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. No, it’s very sad. Very sad.”

In a March interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, Trump called the invasion “a holocaust” but said both sides could work out a deal if Russian would first stop attacking and killing Ukrainians.

“They have to stop killing these people,” Trump said. “They’re killing all of these people, and they have to stop it, and they have to stop it now.”

During his presidency, Trump shifted the U.S. policy toward Ukraine by providing the country with lethal aid, starting in 2017. At the time, Ukrainian government forces were fighting a low-level conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east.

Trump was later impeached in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives after he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about then-candidate Joe Biden’s activities in Ukraine during a pause in U.S. military aid. Trump was eventually acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial.

Despite sending lethal military aid to Ukraine, Trump at times sought to warm relations between the U.S. and Russia and said he had a “very good relationship” with Putin.