Former US president has already rejected one meeting invitation from the Ukrainian leader
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is eager to negotiate with former US President Donald Trump directly just in case the Republican frontrunner retakes the White House in 2024, an insider source in Kiev told Ukrainian outlet Strana on Sunday.
An individual close to Zelensky’s office reasoned that Trump, as the de facto 2024 presidential nominee for the Republican Party, effectively controls the flow of foreign aid to Ukraine, since Republicans hold the majority in the House of Representatives and the House has been responsible for blocking the White House’s efforts to continue funding the Ukrainian conflict.
Zelensky’s cabinet “understands this, and therefore is trying to organize a direct conversation between Trump and Zelensky,” the source told Strana.
Trump publicly turned down a previous invitation from Zelensky to visit Kiev earlier this month, explaining that he was concerned it would be “inappropriate” to go to Ukraine as Zelensky was currently “dealing with” Trump’s successor and 2024 rival, President Joe Biden, and Trump “would not want to create a conflict of interest.”
The Ukrainian president had issued the invitation publicly as a challenge to Trump regarding the latter’s boast that he could end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in just 24 hours if reelected president in 2024. Zelensky in turn declared that if Trump would just come to Kiev, he would need just 24 minutes to convince the American that “he can’t manage this war. He can’t bring peace because of the [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.”
While Zelensky at the time praised Biden for coming to visit, the Democrat’s reelection in 2024 is anything but certain, with polls showing Trump pulling further and further ahead of his rival despite the Republican’s legal troubles. Dozens of felony charges against Trump could potentially put him behind bars for six lifetimes – a fact he has not hesitated to use for fundraising purposes.
After sending over $75 billion to Ukraine over the last two years, the US has nearly exhausted the funds it set aside for the conflict, and a growing faction in Congress is eager to draw the line at any further aid to Kiev.
Biden’s proposed $100 billion national security package – which included $61.4 billion earmarked for Ukraine – flopped in Congress last month when House Speaker Mike Johnson demanded separate bills to fund the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel.