Zelensky invites Trump to Ukraine and says he needs US support for one more year

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky extended an invitation to Donald Trump to come visit, while stressing his war-torn nation needs at least one more year of heavy US support.

Trump has long crowed that he could end the war in 24 hours if he becomes president, but Zelensky gently suggested he would disabuse the former president of that notion.

“I invite President Trump if he can come here. I will need 24 minutes…to explain [to] President Trump that he can’t manage this war, that he can’t bring peace because of Putin,” Zelensky told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“If he’s not ready to give our territory for this terrible man,” Zelensky went on, “if you’re not ready to give our independence…he’s very welcome.”

Zelensky noted that he hasn’t had any contact with Trump since the latter departed the White House and conceded he doesn’t know if the former president would have Ukraine’s back.

He also thanked President Biden, who visited the war-torn nation back in February to mark the one-year anniversary of the conflict.

“I’m really thankful to President Biden, by the way he was here and I think he’s a strong man,” Zelensky said. “He’s a hero.”

Some 20 months into the war, funding for Ukraine has emerged as a lightning rod issue, with Republicans in particular, growing increasingly wary about marshaling more aid to the war-torn nation.

But the Ukrainian president underscored that the next year will be critical in the fighting to stave off Russian invaders.

“The gap will be minimized in our budget and after that — after next year, if the war will not finish next year … I think we will manage to minimize this gap. And you will not help us [at] such [a] high price, I’m sure,” Zelensky said in choppy English.

Since the war broke out in February 2022, the US has approved about $113 billion in both military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but not all that money has been spent.

Biden is seeking an additional $61.4 billion to the besieged ally as part of a sprawling $106 billion supplemental request that has meet resistance in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Zelensky re-upped his entreaty to the American public for further US aid, by highlighting the benefits to the US of backing Ukraine.

“Don’t send your soldiers. God bless, don’t send your daughters and son to other NATO country. Because if Russia will kill all of us [in Ukraine], they will attack NATO countries and you will send your sons and daughters,” he said. “The price will be higher…believe in democracy, believe in Ukraine.”

U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a bilateral meeting with with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019.

He cited additional advanced drones as a key weapons system that’s on his wishlist from the US.

Zelensky also downplayed reporting about a stalemate on the battlefield.

Behind the scenes US and European officials have quietly floated the prospect of negotiating a peace agreement to end the conflict amid concerns of it being a stalemate, NBC reported.

“On the 24th of February [2022], when Russia invaded our country, our land, our families, and they attacked all of us. The world gave us three day,” Zelensky recalled. “Some European countries who really believed in us, they said one month.”

“A lot of people, of course, in the world are tired. Of course, it’s understandable,” he continued. “I believe that today, indeed, the situation is difficult. I don’t think this is a stalemate.”

Despite apparent pressure to negotiate with Putin, Zelensky argued that doing so would be foolish.

“I’m not ready to speak to the terrorists because their word is nothing,” he declared defiantly.

“We are not ready to give our freedom to this f—ing terrorist, Putin,” he added later in the interview. “That’s why we are fighting.”

Last month, Palestinian terrorist group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, triggering a war and a bipartisan push to send aid to the Jewish state.

Zelensky surmised that the attack was a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Russia is very happy with this war. They don’t count how many children were killed there. They don’t think about the flag or nationality,” Zelensky, who is Jewish, surmised. “They just want to divide the world [and get] fatigue focus from Ukraine to another war.”

(Article by Ryan King republished from nypost.com)

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