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Biden, Trump face off on Ukraine at US presidential debate

by Abbey Fenbert June 28, 2024 5:27 AM 2 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden (R) and Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump participate in the CNN Presidential Debate at the CNN Studios on June 27, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump exchanged foreign policy views on Russia's war against Ukraine during the first presidential debate of the 2024 U.S. election in Atlanta, Georgia on June 27.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, boasted that he could easily bring about a settlement between Kyiv and Moscow and criticized President Volodymyr Zelensky, while Biden maintained support for ongoing military aid to Ukraine and a strong NATO.

"I will have that war settled between (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin and Zelensky as president-elect. Before I take office on Jan. 20, I'll have that war settled," Trump claimed during the debate, which aired on CNN.

Biden responded by calling Putin "a war criminal."

"He wants all of Ukraine. That's what he wants," Biden said.

"And then you think he'll stop there? Do you think he'll stop when the, if he takes Ukraine? What do you think happens to Poland, Belarus? What do you think happens to those NATO countries?"

Biden also pointed out that NATO allies have provided as much funding for Ukraine as the U.S. has.

Trump said that Putin's stated terms for a ceasefire, which involve Ukraine's surrender of Russian-occupied regions and abandonment of its NATO bid, were "not acceptable." He did not provide any details on his proposed peace settlement.

Trump also said during the debate that Ukraine has taken too much military aid from the U.S. and referred to Zelensky as a "salesman." He claimed that had he been U.S. president in 2022, Russia would not have launched the full-scale invasion in the first place.

On the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly suggested that he would end the war within 24 hours if elected, while refraining from sharing the specifics of his plan. His advisors have proposed withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine unless Kyiv agrees to negotiate with Russia.

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