Trump defends Putin from DeSantis attacks, says he can end Russia-Ukraine war ‘within 24 hours’

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019 (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019 (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Donald Trump again defended Vladimir Putin as he criticised fellow Republican Ron DeSantis for his comments calling the Russian president a “war criminal”.

The former president, who has launched his fervent pitch for the 2024 presidential election, posted new campaign videos, tearing into the Florida governor. Mr DeSantis has not yet declared his candidacy but remains one the top contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Mr Trump defended Mr Putin, criticising Mr DeSantis’s comments as "exactly the kind of simple-minded thinking that has produced decades of failed diplomacy and ultimately war".

In an interview with British broadcast journalist Piers Morgan, Mr DeSantis said Mr Putin is a “war criminal” who should be “held accountable” for launching a war in Ukraine.

"And so, he’s basically a gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons and one of the things we could be doing better is utilizing our own energy resources in the US,” he said.

Mr DeSantis also defended his remarks that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a “territorial dispute” and it was not “of vital national interest” to the US.

Mr DeSantis said his comments were “mischaracterised”.

In his video on Wednesday, Mr Trump said the comments show that people with thinking like Mr DeSantis "insist on arrogantly treating Russia as deeply inferior to the other nations of the world, with no history or culture or pride”.

He said it will be impossible to negotiate peace with such attitudes.

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Mr Trump proclaimed that he could end the Russia-Ukraine war "within 24 hours" by presiding over peace talks.

He said he would "within one day" have a peace settlement in place if he is re-elected to the White House in the 2024 elections.

"If it’s not solved, I will have it solved in 24 hours with Zelensky and with Putin, and there’s a very easy negotiation to take place, but I don’t want to tell you what it is because then I can’t use that negotiation," said Mr Trump.

"But there’s a very easy negotiation to take place. I will have it solved within one day, a peace between them," he added.

It was not the first time the former US president backed Mr Putin. Most recently, he boasted about his “very good” relationship with the Russian leader just ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine in February.

“Putin never ever would have gone into Ukraine if I were president,” Mr Trump claimed at a rally in Florida, according to Rolling Stone. “I actually had a very good relationship” with Mr Putin.

In 2018, during a summit with Mr Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Mr Trump was asked if he trusted the conclusion of US intelligence that Russia had interfered in the 2016 US election or if he believed Mr Putin’s rejection of those allegations.

In response, Mr Trump appeared to suggest that he believed Mr Putin and praised him.

“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” he said at the time.