Donald Trump indicated that he may have “made a deal” allowing Russia to take over parts of Ukraine to end the war if he were president at the time of the invasion.
Mr Trump said it would have been an “at worst” scenario, and would not have happened because Putin would not have dared invade Ukraine at all if he had been in the White House.
The former president told Sean Hannity’s radio show: “Don’t forget, under Bush they take over Georgia, under Obama they took over Crimea. And, under Biden, they’re taking over everything. It looks like they’re going to take over everything, the whole thing, they’re going to go for the whole enchilada, they’re going for everything, that’s what it looks like to me.
“And, under Trump, you know what they took over? They took nothing, Russia. First time, first president in a long time. He [Putin] understood. He would have never done it.”
Mr Trump added: “That’s without even negotiating a deal. I could have negotiated. At worst, I could have made a deal to take over something, you know, there are certain areas that are Russian speaking areas, right, like, but you could have worked a deal. And now Ukraine is just being blown to smithereens.”
The former president said: “So many more people are dying than recorded and that’s something that never would have happened.”
‘Peace through strength’
Mr Trump has repeatedly said that the Ukraine invasion would not have taken place had he been re-elected in 2020.
He has said that it would have been prevented by his policy of “peace through strength”.
Mr Trump has also said that he could end the current war in “no longer than one day” if he was in the White House.
His latest comment came as Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, declined an invitation to visit President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.
Mr Zelensky said the trip might change Mr McCarthy’s “assumptions” about US military aid to Ukraine.
However, Mr McCarthy said: “I will continue to get my briefings and others, but I don’t have to go to Ukraine or Kyiv to see it.
“And my point has always been, I won’t provide a blank cheque for anything.”