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Former US President Donald Trump has revealed his 'surprise' at Russian President Vladimir Putin's true intentions behind his 'special military operation' in Ukraine.
Trump may have previously 'admired' Putin and declared that Putin wouldn't have invaded Ukraine had he still been president of the US, but the 75-year-old now appears to be reflecting on the Kremlin leader in a new light.
In an interview yesterday, March 15, the former president told the Washington Examiner he thought Putin's decision to send troops into Ukraine was simply a 'tough way to negotiate but a smart way to negotiate'.
He said: 'I figured he was going to make a good deal like everybody else does with the United States and the other people they tend to deal with – you know, like every trade deal. We’ve never made a good trade deal until I came along.
'And then he went in – and I think he’s changed. I think he’s changed. It’s a very sad thing for the world. He’s very much changed.'
Despite stating that he 'got along with [Putin] very well', Trump said he 'got along with most world leaders very well'.
He also claimed: 'I’ve been very, very tough on Putin. I get a bad rap on that.
'[...] When you think of it, who was tougher on Russia than me? I got billions and billions of dollars [for NATO]. Now, all that money is going against Russia, so I did that.
'I closed the pipeline. You know, the pipeline was closed, and Biden opened it. Plus, I did the biggest sanctions anybody’s ever done on Russia.'
Alongside condemning Putin, Trump reiterated his claim that he should take credit for sending military aid to Ukraine, despite his first impeachment exposing him for putting $400 million of aid on hold.
Trump concluded: 'I’ve been very critical of Putin from the standpoint of the pipeline, from the standpoint of raising billions and billions of dollars in NATO to protect, primarily, Europe against Russia. Nobody else did that.'
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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