Inside Donald Trump’s secret, long-shot plan to end the war in Ukraine

Inside Donald Trump’s secret, long-shot plan to end the war in Ukraine

The Washington Post reports:

Former president Donald Trump has privately said he could end Russia’s war in Ukraine by pressuring Ukraine to give up some territory, according to people familiar with the plan. Some foreign policy experts said Trump’s idea would reward Russian President Vladimir Putin and condone the violation of internationally recognized borders by force.

Trump’s proposal consists of pushing Ukraine to cede Crimea and the Donbas border region to Russia, according to people who discussed it with Trump or his advisers and spoke on the condition of anonymity because those conversations were confidential. That approach, which has not been previously reported, would dramatically reverse President Biden’s policy, which has emphasized curtailing Russian aggression and providing military aid to Ukraine.

As he seeks a return to power, the presumptive Republican nominee has frequently boasted that he could negotiate a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine within 24 hours if elected, even before taking office. But he has repeatedly declined to specify publicly how he would quickly settle a war that has raged for more than two years and killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians.

Trump-aligned foreign-policy thinkers have emphasized addressing threats to U.S. interests from China and seeking ways to reverse Russia’s increasing dependence on China for military, industrial and economic assistance. They have also embraced limiting NATO expansion.

Privately, Trump has said that he thinks both Russia and Ukraine “want to save face, they want a way out,” and that people in parts of Ukraine would be okay with being part of Russia, according to a person who has discussed the matter directly with Trump.

Accepting Russian control over parts of Ukraine would expand the reach of Putin’s dictatorship after what has been the biggest land war in Europe since World War II. Some of Trump’s supporters have been trying to persuade him against such an outcome.

“I’ve been spending 100 percent of my time talking to Trump about Ukraine,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a onetime Trump critic turned ally. “He has to pay a price. He can’t win at the end of this,” Graham added, speaking of Putin.

Russia has previously declared it was annexing Ukrainian land beyond the Donbas region and Crimea, and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has said he would not accept surrendering any territory. Exchanging territory for a cease-fire would put Ukraine in a worse position without assurances that Russia would not rearm and resume hostilities, as it has in the past, said Emma Ashford, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan think tank. “That is a terrible deal,” she said of Trump’s proposal. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.