- Former President Donald Trump said the crisis between Ukraine and Russia would never have happened under his leadership.
- But Trump was impeached, in part, for withholding millions in military aid from Ukraine.
- Experts said Trump’s presidency had emboldened Putin.
Former President Donald Trump said on Monday that the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis would never have happened under his leadership, ignoring the fact that he was impeached over a scandal involving the denial of military aid to Kiev. , while pushing for him to investigate his political rivals.
“What is happening with Russia and Ukraine would never have happened under the Trump administration. Not even a possibility,” trump said.
Trump was impeached in 2019 in part because he pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, then one of his top political rivals, while freezing around $400 million in vital military aid to the former soviet republic.
The Trump administration officially suspended aid about 90 minutes after Trump’s infamous July 25 phone call with Zelensky, in which he urged the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden over allegations unfounded in corruption. The military aid flowed to Ukraine months later after Trump was told a whistleblower complaint had been filed regarding the July 25 phone call.
Since Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Ukrainian forces have been engaged in a war against Kremlin-backed rebels in the eastern region of Donbass. The United States has provided Ukraine with billions in military aid since that year, but Trump threw a wrench in that support in 2019.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has expressed admiration for autocratic leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, while criticizing American allies and institutions like NATO. Experts say Trump’s friendly disposition towards Putin and his disregard for international and democratic standards have emboldened the Russian president, as well as other strongman leaders around the world.
Fiona Hill, who served as the top Russian adviser to the Trump administration’s National Security Council, in a New York Times op-ed on Monday, said Trump’s influence over the United States gave Putin an opportunity to renew the aggression against Ukraine.
“From Russia’s perspective, America’s domestic difficulties after four years of President Donald Trump’s disastrous presidency, along with the divisions he created with American allies, and then America’s hasty withdrawal from ‘Afghanistan, signal weakness,” said Hill, who was a key witness to Trump’s first speech. Accused, noted.