Trump praises ‘smart’ Putin but calls Ukraine invasion ‘big mistake’

Former President Donald Trump redoubled his praise for Vladimir Putin on Saturday, calling the Russian president “smart” but describing his invasion of Ukraine as “a big mistake”.

“They ask me if Putin was smart. Yes, Putin was smart,” Trump said at a rally in Commerce, Georgia, before adding that he was surprised by Putin’s decision to start a war.

“Actually, I thought he was going to negotiate. I said, that’s a hell of a way to negotiate – putting 200,000 troops on the border,” he said. “I think he made a big mistake, which he did to so many people. It was a big mistake. But it looked like a great negotiation, it didn’t work out very well for him.

Although Trump called the invasion of Russia a mistake, he did not condemn Putin as a leader. Earlier this month, Trump called Putin a “genius” for invading parts of Ukraine after declaring those regions independent. In a later interview with Fox News, Trump declined to call Putin “evil” when confronted with the remarks.

An estimated 2,570 civilians have been killed or injured since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, according to a recent United Nations tally, which indicates the true number is likely considerably higher. The UN tally includes more than 80 dead children.

NATO also estimated this week that 7,000 to 15,000 Russian troops died in combat.

Former President Donald Trump is seen at a rally in Commerce, Georgia on Saturday.

Alyssa Pointer via Reuters

On Saturday, Trump also called Chinese leader Xi Jinping “smart.”

“He rules 1.5 billion people with an iron fist. Yeah, I think he’s pretty smart. And they have a channel there. If you’re a model, you’re left here,” a- he said with a low gesture, “It’s like a pyramid. The smartest one gets to the top. It hasn’t worked so well in our country lately.”

Trump, who repeated his bogus claims of “massive voter fraud” in the 2020 election, also predicted that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan “will be next.”

“I would say it’s a very good possibility that he invades Taiwan because he no longer respects the United States of America and he had a lot of respect for us a year and a half ago,” he said. he declares.


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