Trump Discusses Relationship with Putin

Former US President Donald Trump has claimed that his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin was “very good” despite his “tough” stance. He asserts that the Ukraine conflict would have never started if he had been re-elected in 2020.

In an interview with the Impaulsive podcast, released on Thursday, Trump recalled that the full-scale hostilities in Ukraine did not begin during his presidency between 2017 and 2021. He insists that the escalation would have been avoided had he remained in office.

When asked about his relationship with Putin, Trump described it as “very good,” adding that he also had a positive relationship with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. “But I was tough with him [Putin]. You know, I ended… the Nord Stream 2,” he noted, referencing the pipeline designed to transport natural gas between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea, which was never commissioned.

Trump explained that he had expressed his dissatisfaction with the EU over the project, questioning why Europe was paying Russia “billions” a month for gas supplies while America provided the bloc with protection from Moscow.

According to Trump, Putin acknowledged his role in the cancellation of Nord Stream 2. “Putin said to me: ‘It’s the biggest thing… you ended the pipeline… You and I are friendly but I’d hate to see you as enemy.’”

Despite this, Trump maintained that he successfully built good relationships not only with the Russian president but also with Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “The funny thing [is] I got along with the tough ones much better with the weak ones.”

The Trump administration was a persistent critic of Nord Stream 2, repeatedly pressuring Germany to abandon the project. The commissioning process of the completed pipeline was finally halted in February 2022, when tensions between the West and Russia escalated ahead of the Ukraine conflict.

In the fall of 2022, several lines of Nord Stream 1 and 2 were sabotaged, with Russia demanding an international investigation and suggesting that US intelligence services orchestrated the explosions. Washington denied responsibility, despite US President Joe Biden previously threatening to “bring an end” to the pipeline if Russian troops entered Ukraine.

Trump has repeatedly pledged to resolve the Ukraine conflict within 24 hours if re-elected by holding talks with both Zelensky and Putin. The Kremlin stated last month that the Russian president was not in contact with Trump, while Zelensky expressed doubts about the former US president’s ability to stop the hostilities.