If elected, the Republican frontrunner has vowed to put an end to the fighting within “24 hours”
Former US President Donald Trump will likely keep his promise to end the conflict in Ukraine within 24 hours if he wins this year’s election, Polish President Andrzej Duda has said. The prospect of a second Trump presidency has caused unease in some Eastern European capitals.
Trump, who is the presumptive Republican nominee to take on President Joe Biden this November, has said on multiple occasions that he would have the two-year-old conflict resolved “in one day” if he were to return to the White House.
“I can say from my personal experience as the president of the Polish Republic… what [Trump] promised to me was fulfilled,” Duda told reporters in Rwanda on Wednesday, according to Newsweek.
“I can say that President Trump keeps his word and if he says something, he takes it seriously,” Duda added. “That is as much as I can tell right now.”
Duda enjoyed close relations with Trump during his time in the Oval Office, with the US and Poland signing bilateral energy, defense, and trade deals. The two leaders signed multiple agreements to increase the presence of US troops in Poland, and during a visit to the White House in 2018, Duda remarked that a permanent US garrison in the country could be named “Fort Trump.”
However, both men have taken very different stances on the conflict in Ukraine, with Duda’s government donating an estimated 3.2% of the country’s GDP to Kiev, and Trump repeatedly accusing Biden of dragging the US toward “World War III” with his policy of open-ended military aid to Ukraine.
“I would get [Russian President Vladimir Putin] into a room. I’d get [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky into a room. Then I’d bring them together. And I’d have a deal worked out,” he told NBC News in September. Trump did not elaborate on how he would achieve this, explaining that “if I tell you exactly, I lose all my bargaining chips.”
Zelensky called Trump’s claim “a little scary,” and expressed concern that he would press ahead with the plan even if “[did] not work for us, for our people.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last month that Moscow had “no understanding of how” Trump could bring the conflict to an end, and that Putin’s administration has “not had any contact” with Trump’s team.
In any case, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a UN press conference in late January: “I doubt that the Ukrainian side would be ready for any resolution.”
Reactions among other Eastern European leaders have been mixed. Czech President Petr Pavel – who has urged his fellow NATO leaders to increase the supply of arms to Kiev – warned last week that the bloc should “be prepared” for Trump to make a peace deal with Putin. The former US president, Pavel noted, “looks at a number of things differently.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, like Trump himself, has repeatedly argued that the conflict never would have happened had Trump defeated Biden in 2020. “Today, apart from him, I do not see anyone in Europe or America who would be a strong enough leader to stop the war,” Orban told France’s Le Point news magazine earlier this month. “Peace has a name: Donald Trump,” he added.