Apr 10, 2024 - World

Zelensky says he invited Trump to Ukraine to explain his peace proposals

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking in  Kyiv in February 2024.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking in Kyiv in February 2024. Photo: Maksym Polishchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with Axel Springer media outlets on Tuesday that he has urged former President Trump to visit the country to hear Trump's ideas to end Russia's invasion.

Why it matters: The invitation comes amid reports that Trump has privately said he could end Russia's ongoing assault on Ukraine by pressuring Kyiv into ceding territory to Moscow.

  • Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky, have denounced suggestions of territorial concessions to end Russia's invasion, while a vast majority of Ukrainians also oppose such proposals.

What they're saying: Zelensky on Tuesday said he invited Trump to Ukraine because he is open to hearing the former president's proposals, but he warned that he is deeply skeptical of giving up territories.

  • "If the deal is that we just give up our territories, and that's the idea behind it, then it's a very primitive idea," Zelensky said in the interview, according to Politico, which is owned by Axel Springer.
  • Zelensky added that giving up land to appease Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn't give Ukraine assurances that Russia would not rearm and resume hostilities again in a few years.

Context: Trump in recent months has claimed he could negotiate a peace deal to end Russia's invasion of Ukraine within 24 hours if he's elected but has declined to specify how he would do so.

  • Trump has said privately that he could end the invasion by pressuring Ukraine into ceding the Crimean Peninsula and the Donbas region to Russia, according to the Washington Post.
  • Trump has also said he believes Ukrainians currently under Russian occupation would be okay with the regions officially becoming part of Russia, the Post reported.
  • Trump and his allies have denied the Post's report, but the former president has yet to publicly detail how he would swiftly end the invasion.

Zelensky said in the interview Tuesday that Trump had privately expressed interest in traveling to Ukraine but had not committed to it.

  • Trump has denied previous invitations from Zelensky, saying that he doesn't want to create "a conflict of interest" while the Biden administration is in charge of U.S. foreign policy.

Zoom in: Zelensky, echoing recent statements from Republican lawmakers, also warned that Russian influence campaigns have significantly warped U.S. politics and media.

  • "They pump their narratives through the media," Zelenskyy said. "These are not Russian citizens or natives of Russia, no. They are representatives of certain media groups, citizens of the United States. They are the ones in the media with the appropriate messages, sometimes very pro-Russian."

Zoom out: During the interview, Zelensky expressed impatience with the slow pace of military aid from Ukraine's allies.

  • Recent delays have forced Kyiv to ration ammunition and supplies, which has cost the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and allowed Russia to gain ground in eastern Ukraine.
  • U.S. aid to Ukraine has been delayed in the Republican-led House for months over deep disagreements within the GOP over whether the U.S. should continue to support the country.
  • Speaker Mike Johnson said he plans to have the House vote on Ukraine aid in some form in the coming weeks.

Go deeper: Turner says Russian propaganda "being uttered on the House floor"

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