Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday invited former U.S. President Donald Trump to visit Ukraine to make good on his vow of settling the Eastern European nation’s ongoing conflict with Russia in “24 hours” — a repeated claim that Trump said would happen if he takes back the White House in 2024.
“Former President Trump said that about 24 hours, that he can manage it and finish the war,” Zelensky said during an interview with NBC. “For me, what can I say? So he’s very welcome as well.”
Trump, who currently holds the lead for the 2024 presidential GOP nomination, has said a number of times that he could strike a deal between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky to solve the international war overseas in “one day” if re-elected to the White House.
“If I’m president, I will have that war settled in one day – 24 hours,” Trump told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins earlier this year during a town hall, adding he would meet with the two presidents who “have weaknesses and they both have strengths” to settle the war.
“It’ll be over, it’ll be absolutely over,” Trump said.
Trump added during the interview that he doesn’t view the war “in terms of winning and losing.”
“I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people,” he said, adding, “Russians and Ukrainians, I want them to stop dying. And I’ll have that done in 24 hours.”
But Zelensky signaled doubt in Trump’s ability to end hostilities if re-elected.
“If he can come here, I will need … 24 minutes to explain to President Trump that he can’t manage this war,” Zelenskiy said. “He can’t bring peace because of Putin.”
Trump has been critical of U.S. support of the war, saying the Biden administration’s involvement has led to a “reckless escalation” in Ukraine.
In July, President Joe Biden signed an executive order making as many as 3,000 reservists from the U.S. military available to travel to Europe and support NATO efforts to end hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. This comes as Ukraine has received nearly $350 billion in foreign aid, including $113 billion from the U.S., which has been crucial to its continued war effort.
But with a potential second Trump administration retaking the White House in 2025, Zelenksy said he was unsure if Ukraine would lose U.S. support.
“Really, I don’t know. Really, I don’t know,” Zelenksy told NBC on “Meet the Press.” “I hope that it depends not only on the president institutionally. I think it depends on the opinion of Americans, of your society. I think that is most important. I think it’s important in the United States and EU, the attitude of just ordinary people. It’s their support. It’s their money. It depends on them.”
“And they are sure in Ukraine. I know that they support Ukraine — love us. And really, they understand our difficult war against Russia. And I think only after that, society is pushing the leaders and leaders make right decisions,” he added.
According to Gallup, support for more aid has steadily declined for more than a year. A plurality of Americans — 41% — believe the U.S. is too involved in the war in Ukraine, including 62% of Republicans and 44% of independents. While only 14% of Democrats say the same, more than 60% of Democrats, Republicans, and independents believe neither side is winning the war.
The Biden administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill have pushed for a joint $106 billion aid package to Israel and Ukraine, but the Republican-controlled House passed a standalone bill to support Israel while leaving aid to Ukraine on the negotiating table, possibly as part of a deal for increased border security.
Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have said that proposal is dead on arrival. Still, allies of Ukraine are worried that the debate itself shows unqualified support for Ukraine is becoming unsustainable. The U.S. still has about $5 billion of outstanding allocated aid waiting to be sent to Ukraine due to an accounting error by the Pentagon. Still, once that runs out, further funds would have to be approved by the divided Congress.
Zelensky said if Washington, D.C., refuses to send more aid, U.S. soldiers could eventually get involved in a greater conflict with Russia.
“If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack NATO countries, and you will send your sons and daughters [to fight],” Zelensky told NBC.