Former President Donald Trump says Ukraine should have made a deal with Vladimir Putin to avoid the massive loss of life and destruction that has occurred since Russian troops invaded in late February.
Appearing on "The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show," Trump was asked about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska posing for a Vogue magazine cover shoot, which has been criticized by some since the country is at war.
Trump said he has not seen the photos, but added it is "probably not the greatest thing."
Trump repeated what he has said before, especially at recent rallies, that the invasion would never have happened if he had been president.
"You know, somebody said, 'Well, what would you do?' I said we wouldn't have had to do anything. [Putin] wouldn't have done it with me. He wouldn't have done it. At a minimum, [Ukraine] should have made a deal."
Ukraine, Trump said, "could have given up Crimea. They could have done something with NATO, 'OK, we're not gonna join NATO,' and you'd have a country, because I believe Putin wanted to make a deal."
Trump said he believes Putin no longer wants to make a deal.
"I think it's much tougher to make a deal," Trump added. "He's blowing up the whole place.
"I mean, he'll take over the whole place. And it's very, very sad to watch what happened with Ukraine. Very, very sad."
Now, Trump said, Putin will not be willing to settle for only part of the country, but wants the whole thing.
Putin set up troops on the border of Ukraine as a "great negotiation" tactic, Trump said, noting he called Putin a "good negotiator."
He drew criticism for calling Putin a "genius" and "very savvy" for moving troops in under the guise of "peacekeeping operations."
But, he added, "I never thought he was gonna go in. He would have never … he knew that he would have been under attack, and he understood that, and I told him that, and it would have never happened and to see what's happened now."
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