Former President Donald Trump has weighed in on the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine suggesting the US’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking on Fox and Friends Weekend on Saturday, Mr Trump asserted that no one had been tougher on Russia than him – but said he and Mr Putin had ”got on very well.
We’re in a really bad position right now, said Mr Trump.
I think [Mr Putin] got a lot more ambitious. I think he wanted to negotiate for a period of time, when he watched Afghanistan, when he watched the unbelievably bad withdrawal, where [America] took out the military first and left $85 billion worth of equipment behind for the Taliban to use. And of course the deaths.
When they watched all of them, I think they got emboldened. It’s shocking because it should have never happened, it would have never happened.
Speaking of Mr Putin, Mr Trump added I knew him very well. I stopped his pipeline, I sanctioned him more than everybody else sanctioned them.
Nobody was ever tougher on Russia, but I got along with Putin very well, we respected each other.
His comments came as US President Joe Biden held an hour-long phone call with Mr Putin to discuss Ukraine, in an apparent last-ditch attempt to avoid military conflict in eastern Europe.
The United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, Biden told Putin, but invading Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing.