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‘A ceasefire is a trap:’ Forcing Ukraine to compromise with Russia would weaken US, Zelensky warns Trump

by Alexander Khrebet June 1, 2024 9:08 PM 2 min read
Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally on Dec. 17, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky warned former U.S. President Donald Trump against forcing Ukraine into a ceasefire with Russia in an interview with the Guardian, saying it would be a “trap.”

Trump has said he could end Russia’s war within 24 hours if elected president, without specifying the steps for reaching a peace deal between Kyiv and Moscow.

The presumptive Republican nominee has also said he thinks both Moscow and Kyiv “want to save face, they want a way out,” claiming that Ukrainians in Russian-occupied territories would be okay being part of Russia, the Washington Post reported in April, citing an unnamed person who has discussed the matter with Trump.

“When (Putin) gains strength, he might issue an ultimatum – to recognize all occupied territories, to stay out of NATO, to forget about European integration,” Zelensky said in clip from the Guardian interview published by his office on June 1.

“And there will be many such conditions, depending on how strong he is at that moment. Therefore, a ceasefire is a trap.”

Zelensky said he doesn't believe Trump would want to be remembered as the "loser" to Russia in the war.  

He asked the Guardian reporters to imagine a scenario where Trump, as president, decided to end the war at Ukraine's expense.

“Somehow, in dialogue, he might get confirmation from Putin that this is the end, that this is it. Ukrainians will not accept this, but he might then say: 'Well, that’s it, I am giving you no support, no weapons, no finances.' He might negotiate with some partners, and they might also stop,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to a ceasefire that recognizes the current front lines on the battlefield but will fight on if Ukraine and its allies do not agree, Reuters reported on May 24, citing undisclosed Russian sources.

Except for unsuccessful talks during the early spring of 2022, there have been no direct peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. Zelensky has repeatedly said Kyiv would not cede territories in exchange for peace.

Trump said in May that he would not commit to providing Ukraine with defense assistance if he won the 2024 election.

“Of course, Ukraine, without weapons, barehanded, cannot fight against a multi-million-strong army. Let’s imagine that,” said Zelensky.

Trump has privately said he could end Russia’s war by pressuring Ukraine to cede Crimea and Donbas to Moscow, the Washington Post reported on April 7, citing sources.

Zelensky believes such an approach would green light further attacks, “reducing to zero” the U.S.’s global influence.

“That would be the end of any ceasefire, the beginning of exactly what everyone is so afraid to talk about out loud, the real World War III,” said Zelensky.

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