Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited former President Donald Trump to Ukraine on Sunday to see the scale of the war for himself, but Trump respectfully declined in a statement to Newsmax.
"I have great respect for President Zelenskyy, but think it would be inappropriate to go to Ukraine at this time," Trump wrote in a statement responding to Zelenskyy's invite made on NBC's "Meet the Press." "The Biden administration is currently dealing with him, and I would not want to create a conflict of interest."
Zelenskyy's invite was a counter to Trump's long-running claim he could solve the Russia war in Ukraine in "24 hours." Zelenskyy said he would just need "24 minutes" to prove to Trump that was not possible.
"Former President Trump said that about 24 hours, that he can manage it and finish the war," Zelenskyy told NBC. "For me, what can I say? So he's very welcome as well. President Biden was here, and he – I think he understood some details which you can understand only being here.
"So I invite President Trump. If he can come here, I will need 24 minutes – yes, 24 minutes; not more. Yes. Not more. Twenty-four minutes to explain President Trump that he can't manage this war."
Diplomacy with Russia's Vladimir Putin is impossible, despite Trump's claim to the contrary, Zelenskyy continued.
"He can't bring peace because of the Putin," he said. "If, but always there is an 'if,' if he's not trying and if he's not ready to give our territory for this terrible man, for the Putin, if you are not ready to give it, if you are not ready to give our independence.
"He can't manage it."
Zelenskyy is calling on the U.S. to provide more funding to help his forces counter Russia, warning that American soldiers could eventually be pulled into a greater European conflict with Russia if Washington did not step up support.
"If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack NATO countries and you will send your sons and daughters [to fight]," Zelenskyy said told NBC.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has pressed Congress to pass a $106 billion supplemental spending bill, with the bulk of the money going to bolster Ukraine's defenses and the remainder split among Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and border enforcement.
The Republican-led House has instead put forward its own funding plan. It passed a bill last week to provide $14.5 billion in aid to Israel, but did not include any increase in aid for Ukraine.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would not bring the House bill to a vote and Biden has vowed to veto it.
Information from Reuters was used to compile this report.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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