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'Reality will be very different' – Ukrainian MP dismisses Trump's NATO, peace plan 'rhetoric'

by Chris York July 3, 2024 3:17 PM 3 min read
Former President Donald Trump holds a rally in the historical Democratic district of the South Bronx on May 23, 2024 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Donald Trump's controversial peace plan and reported deal with Russia to block Ukraine's accession to NATO are just "rhetoric" for the U.S. presidential election, and "reality will be very different," a senior Ukrainian lawmaker told the Kyiv Independent on July 3.

Oleksandr Merezhko, the chair of the parliament's foreign affairs policy, said if Trump becomes the next U.S. president, his fear of being seen as a "failure" means he will be forced to change his stance on Russia's full-scale invasion.

Trump's position is largely viewed as leaning towards the Kremlin's views and goals.

The former president has promised to end Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine within 24 hours if elected but has declined to publicly elaborate on how he plans to do so, though any such plan would likely involve ceding territory to Russia.

With Kyiv refusing to compromise on territorial integrity to end the war and Moscow's 2022 illegal annexation of four Ukrainian oblasts, Merezhko says any sweeping plans announced by Trump before he is president are unlikely to go anywhere if he takes office.

"(Vladimir) Putin cannot backtrack on annexations," he said.

"When Trump realizes this, when Putin is not eager to make compromises, he will be very disappointed because there is no possibility of reaching a peaceful compromise.

"(Trump) doesn't want to be a failure; he wants to be a success, and if he wants success, he has to get Ukraine to agree, and Ukraine will never agree to territory concessions."

Two top Trump advisors also recently proposed a plan that would cease military aid to Ukraine unless it agrees to cease fire and hold peace negotiations with Russia. Kyiv has previously rejected similar proposals, saying it would only provide a window of opportunity for Moscow to regroup its forces.

Merezhko highlighted the catastrophic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, which Trump has repeatedly used to criticize President Joe Biden, saying he is "haunted" by the idea of being held responsible for a similar geopolitical disaster.

"He doesn't want to be a failure," he said. "He is haunted by Afghanistan, and he doesn't want to be the person responsible for losing Ukraine.

"Democrats will be criticizing him heavily, and saying 'look, it was fine under Biden, but you have failed.'"

Trump is also reportedly considering the possibility of making a deal with Russia to block the future NATO accession of certain countries, namely Ukraine and Georgia, Politico reported on July 2.

Merezhko said that while still important, Trump's NATO plans are "secondary" to discussions about a peace plan, though now is not the right time to be having them.

"Those statements made right now are made in the heat of the presidential campaign and are not made seriously," he says.

"So we can only talk about the plan after the election when he has a team and when we know who will be the experts leading the team.

"Whatever peace plan ideas he has now, they are very vague to me, but the reality will be very different."

Ukraine not ready to compromise with Russia on territory or values, Yermak comments on Trump’s statement
Ukraine will not compromise its values, including its territories, to find a compromise with Russia to end the war, Presidential Office head Andriy Yermak told reporters on July 3 in answer to a question about U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s declaration.

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