Trump Blames Biden’s NATO Expansion Rhetoric for Ukraine Conflict

Biden’s rhetoric about NATO expansion is to blame, the former US president has said

Former US President Donald Trump has claimed that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine was triggered by the “irresponsible and provocative” rhetoric used by US President Joe Biden and his administration regarding Ukraine’s potential NATO membership.

Trump, who is seeking a rematch with Biden for the presidency in November, made these comments during a discussion on foreign policy with co-host David Sacks on the ‘All-In’ podcast posted late on Thursday.

“For 20 years, I heard that if Ukraine goes into NATO, it’s a real problem for Russia. I’ve heard that for a long time. And I think that’s really why this war started,” Trump said. 

The Republican presidential candidate highlighted that there were no discussions about an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine during his time in the White House. However, he alleges that the situation began to deteriorate immediately after Biden took office.

“I thought that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin may be – well, look, he’s a good negotiator, I thought he was going to be doing that for negotiation purposes,” Trump said. “Then all of a sudden, they attacked, and I said, ‘what’s going on here?’” 

According to the former president, the rhetoric coming from the White House played a significant role in the situation.

“Biden was saying all of the wrong things. And one of the wrong things he was saying [was] ‘no, Ukraine will go into NATO’,” Trump said.

Sacks pointed out that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Moscow in January 2022 that Ukraine would join NATO and that Washington believed it was acceptable to place nuclear weapons there. “So no wonder the Russians hit the roof,” he noted.

“Well, let’s say you were running Russia. You wouldn’t be too happy,” Trump replied. “And that’s always been off the table. It’s always been understood that that was a no-no,” he added, referring to Kiev’s potential NATO membership.

Trump labeled the idea of Ukraine joining NATO as “very provocative.” He stated, “And now it’s even more provocative. I hear routinely they’re now talking about Ukraine entering NATO. And now I hear France wants to go in and fight. Well, I wish them a lot of luck!”

Putin has specifically cited Western statements regarding Ukraine’s potential membership in the US-led bloc as a security threat that Russia could not ignore. Ukraine’s neutrality has been a non-negotiable condition for Russia for ending the conflict.

NATO has maintained that its “open door” policy is crucial and that no entity has the right to veto it. However, they also assert that their eastward expansion was not the cause of the conflict.

In an with Time magazine earlier this month, Biden claimed that the US is “the strongest nation” due to NATO expansion. He also mentioned that he told Putin he would get “NATOization of Finland” instead of “the Finlandization of NATO” during their June 2021 summit in Switzerland.