Trump Claims He Can End Russia-Ukraine War in One Day; Russia’s UN Ambassador Disagrees

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks during a presidential debate with President Joe Biden, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta.
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Bold Claims on the Campaign Trail

Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that he could end the war between Russia and Ukraine in just one day if re-elected. During a CNN town hall in May 2023, Trump stated, “They’re dying, Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying. And I’ll have that done—I’ll have that done in 24 hours.” He suggested that a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin would resolve the conflict swiftly. Trump has continued to make this claim throughout his campaign, asserting that the war would not have started if he were still in office, suggesting, “If we had a real president, a president that knew—that was respected by Putin—he would have never invaded Ukraine.”

A Dismissal from Russia

Russia’s United Nations Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, has firmly dismissed Trump’s claim. When asked to comment, Nebenzia told reporters, “The Ukrainian crisis cannot be solved in one day.” He argued that the complexities of the conflict make a swift resolution impossible.

The Missed Opportunity for Peace

Nebenzia pointed to a potential peace agreement in April 2022 in Istanbul, where Russia and Ukraine were reportedly close to a deal. The Russian ambassador blamed Ukraine’s Western backers for blocking this agreement and encouraging Kyiv to continue fighting. According to Nebenzia, the deal could have ended the war, which Russia refers to as a “special military operation” that began in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea.

Current State of the Conflict

Despite Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Ukrainian forces have managed to prevent the fall of Kyiv. The conflict has since centered on the south and east of Ukraine, where Moscow has illegally seized four regions, though it does not fully control any of them. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed not to surrender any territory. Russia has taken advantage of delays in Western military assistance to launch an offensive and make gains.

The Elusive Path to Peace

At a recent meeting in Switzerland, nearly 80 countries called for Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” to be the basis for any peace agreement. However, some key developing nations did not join, and Russia did not attend. Nebenzia criticized Zelenskyy’s peace plan, calling it “a joke,” and pointed to Putin’s offer on June 14 to cease hostilities and begin negotiations if Ukraine withdraws troops from the annexed regions and abandons plans to join NATO. Zelenskyy rejected this as an ultimatum to surrender more land.

The Diplomatic Road Ahead

Nebenzia warned that as the situation on the ground becomes more difficult for Ukraine, the prospects for diplomacy will also become more challenging. He called on Zelenskyy to be “realistic” about the situation and consider the developments since April 2022.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Nebenzia’s remarks.

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