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Donald Trump praises Vladimir Putin’s invasion of parts of Ukraine as ‘genius’ move

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Donald Trump. Picture: Reuters

Donald Trump. Picture: Reuters

Donald Trump. Picture: Reuters

White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticised Donald Trump for defending Vladimir Putin’s invasion of parts of Ukraine and for calling the Russian president’s move “genius” and “smart”.

As a matter of policy, we try not to take advice from anyone who praises President Putin and his military strategy, which I believe is what happened there,” she said, while responding to a question about Mr Trump’s comments on the ongoing issue of tensions with Russia over its military buildup near Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Putin recognised Ukraine’s entire Donbass region as independent countries, and announced that Russian forces would move to secure their sovereignty. The areas are largely controlled by two separatist governments, but some of the territory is still held by Ukraine’s government.

The development led to US president Joe Biden announcing a new range of sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs and financial institutions, while vowing that his administration would work with Germany to kill the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

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A woman holds her dog as she waits with others to cross from Ukrainian government controlled areas to pro-Russian separatists’ controlled territory in Stanytsia Luhanska, the only crossing point open daily, in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

A woman holds her dog as she waits with others to cross from Ukrainian government controlled areas to pro-Russian separatists’ controlled territory in Stanytsia Luhanska, the only crossing point open daily, in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

A military truck drives down a street outside Donetsk, the territory controlled by pro-Russian militants, eastern Ukraine (AP)

A military truck drives down a street outside Donetsk, the territory controlled by pro-Russian militants, eastern Ukraine (AP)

A woman pushes a wheelchair carrying an elderly lady from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory to Ukrainian government-controlled areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, the only crossing point open daily, in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine. Photo: Vadim Ghirda

A woman pushes a wheelchair carrying an elderly lady from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory to Ukrainian government-controlled areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, the only crossing point open daily, in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine. Photo: Vadim Ghirda

Demonstrators hold placards and wave Ukrainian flags during an anti-war protest in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany. Photo: REUTERS/Christian Mang.

Demonstrators hold placards and wave Ukrainian flags during an anti-war protest in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany. Photo: REUTERS/Christian Mang.

A group of people hold signs at the front of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in Kyiv during a protest calling for the European Union to impose additional sanctions against Russia. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A group of people hold signs at the front of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in Kyiv during a protest calling for the European Union to impose additional sanctions against Russia. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A man with an anti-Putin sign at a protest in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol yesterday

A man with an anti-Putin sign at a protest in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol yesterday

People gather in support of Ukraine during a rally outside the Ukrainian Consulate in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Picture: Reuters

People gather in support of Ukraine during a rally outside the Ukrainian Consulate in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Picture: Reuters

A pro-Ukraine demonstration near the Russian embassy in Berlin (AP)

A pro-Ukraine demonstration near the Russian embassy in Berlin (AP)

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A woman holds her dog as she waits with others to cross from Ukrainian government controlled areas to pro-Russian separatists’ controlled territory in Stanytsia Luhanska, the only crossing point open daily, in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

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During an interview with a conservative radio show on Tuesday, former president Donald Trump was asked: “This White House is stating that this is an ‘invasion’. That’s a strong word. What went wrong here? What has the current occupant of the Oval Office done that he could have done differently?”

Mr Trump responded to hosts Clay Travis and Buck Sexton: “What went wrong was a rigged election and what went wrong is a candidate that shouldn’t be there and a man that has no concept of what he’s doing.”

Continuing his rant, he said: “I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine—of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper.”

“That’s the strongest peace force. We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy, I know him very well. Very, very well,” Mr Trump added.

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Ms Psaki was asked during the press briefing whether there were any concerns that Mr Trump’s comments could lead to support for Ukraine becoming a more partisan issue among the American public.

The White House press secretary responded: “You know, I think that is up to members of the Republican Party to make the decision, to make the determination.”

She added: “There has been a long history, decades of history, which President Biden was a part of when he was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, of standing up to the efforts of any country to seize the territory of another country, standing up for efforts by the United States to rally global support against inappropriate and illegal actions by another country.”


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