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US Presidential debate: Trump says he would have ended the Russia-Ukraine war before taking office, questions Billions given away to Zelenskyy

President Biden defended his stance on supporting Ukraine and said Russia has lost thousands of troops and has not succeeded in its aim to capture Kyiv.

Former US President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, the two contenders in the presidential race had a go at each other over their foreign policies, especially concerning the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Israel-Hamas war.

In a televised debate on CNN on Thursday (loval time) Trump, the Republican Challenger in the US presidential elections scheduled later this year, claimed that it was the US’ “embarrassing” withdrawal from Afghanistan that prompted Putin to start the war against Ukraine. He further claimed both conflicts wouldn’t have taken place if Trump had been in office.

“He was so bad with Afghanistan, it was so embarrassing…when Putin watched that so much incompetency…when Putin says that he said ‘I think we are gonna go in,” Trump said.

“He (Putin) would have never invaded Ukraine, never, just like Israel would never have been invaded by Hamas, because Iran was broke with me. I would not let anybody do business with Iran…that’s why you had no terror at all during my administration, the whole world is blowing under him (Biden),” he further added.

President Biden defended his stance on supporting Ukraine and said Russia has lost thousands of troops and has not succeeded in its aim to capture Kyiv.

“This guy (Trump) has told Putin, do whatever you want…Putin said he would take Kyiv in five days because it was part of the old Soviet Union….he could not get it done, they have lost thousands and thousands of troops,” Biden said.

Terming Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”, Biden warned that if Russia captures Ukraine, it might lead to further conflicts in Europe.

“Putin is a war criminal. He has killed thousands of people, and he has made one thing clear, that he wants to establish the Soviet Empire, all of Ukraine. Do you think, he would stop there…if he takes Ukraine, what you think happens to Poland, Belarus, NATO countries,” the US President further said.

Meanwhile, on being asked whether Putin’s terms to end war — Ukraine not joining NATO and Russia keeping the territories it has annexed so far — Trump said it is “not acceptable” to him.

“No, they’re not acceptable,” Trump said.

He also reiterated his claim that he would end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, “before he takes office.” He also took a jibe at the US support to Ukraine so far calling Zelenskyy a “salesman.”

“But, this is a war, that never should have started. He (Biden) has given USD 200 billion or more to Ukraine…that’s a lot of money. Every time, Zelenskyy comes to the country, he walks away with USD 60 billion, he’s the greatest salesman ever,” Trump said.

“It should have never happened. I would have this war settled between Putin and Zelenskyy as president-elect before taking office on January 20,” he added.

Trump also raked up the issue of NATO, and said that other European countries “don’t wanna pay.”

“The big thing I changed is they don’t wanna pay…I got them to put up 100s of billions of dollars, I said I won’t protect if they don’t pay,” Trump said, adding that this resulted in “millions of dollars pouring in.”

The issue of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza also propped up in the debate. President Biden said that the ceasefire proposal has been accepted by Israel, and it is the Hamas that wants the war to continue.

Biden touted a plan that included trading the hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and a continued “ceasefire with additional conditions.”

“The only one who wants the war to continue is Hamas,” Biden said. “We’re still pushing hard to get them to accept.”

President Biden laid out a three-phase proposal in May, which he said Israel had submitted, to wind down the war in Gaza, declaring, “It’s time for this war to end.”

On the other hand, Trump said that Israel should be allowed to finish the job in Gaza, and mocked Biden as a “weak Palestinian.”

“You should let him (Israel) go and finish the job. He (Biden) has become like a Palestinian, but they don’t like him because he is a very bad Palestinian, a very weak one,” Trump said.

In a major takeaway, Trump did not directly answer if he would support an independent Palestinian state to end the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“I’d have to see…” he said.

President Joe Biden launched his re-election campaign in April 2023, describing the contest between him and Trump as a “stark choice” for voters between the continuation of democracy in America and its possible “destruction” under Trump.

He is the oldest president to ever hold office and would be 86 at the end of a second term. Polling shows that voters are far more concerned about Biden’s age than his opponent’s. But if Trump wins, he would break Biden’s record as the oldest president before the end of his term.

Meanwhile, Trump launched his bid to reclaim the White House in November 2022. He aims to reclaim the White House after his bitter exit in 2020, as he looks forward to becoming only the second commander-in-chief to win two non-consecutive terms in office.

(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

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