Front-running GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump — on the stump in Ukraine via video link to a gathering of European leaders — lashed out at President Barack Obama's foreign policy and vowed to make the U.S. military "very, very strong."
"Our president is not strong, and he is not doing what he should be doing for the Ukraine," Trump, speaking from New York, declared to the Yalta European Strategy Forum, told an annual gathering of politicians and business people organized by Ukrainian businessman Viktor Pinchuk, Politico reports
He added, "[Russian President Vladimir] Putin does not respect our president whatsoever."
"It's just one of those things where it's just not happening, and we're talking about many, many different elements," Trump told the gathering, Politico reports. "And it is a big problem, and it is a problem that is taking place all over the world with respect to the United States. You have a problem, but many other countries have a problem and frankly, the United States has a problem."
Trump repeatedly used "the" before Ukraine — the way Russians referred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic while it was part of the Soviet Union. After conflict with Russia erupted in the region last year, the White House switched to just "Ukraine."
The Guardian reports
the use of the definite article when referring to the country is considered insulting by Ukrainians.
"I know many people that live in the Ukraine," Trump said in opening remarks, Politico reports. "They're friends of mine. Victor is one example."
"It's amazing what you've had to endure," he added, referring to the conflict with Russia. "The spirit of the Ukrainian people is absolutely incredible."
Trump also promised if elected president in the United States, he'd create a "very, very strong" military, and suggested setting up "a safe zone some place in Syria" to stop the flow of migrants currently flooding into Europe, the Guardian reports.
"Our military would be very, very strong," he vowed. "Hopefully to a point where we wouldn’t have to use it because frankly we are not respected to the same extent we were in the past."
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