Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is eager to negotiate with former US President Donald Trump directly, should he retake the White House in 2024, according to an insider source in Kiev. The source explained that Trump, as the de facto 2024 presidential nominee for the Republican Party, effectively controls the flow of foreign aid to Ukraine, given that Republicans hold the majority in the House of Representatives, which has been responsible for blocking the White House’s efforts to continue funding the Ukrainian conflict.
The source cited by the Ukrainian outlet Strana confirmed that Zelensky’s cabinet is attempting to organize a direct conversation between Trump and Zelensky. The Ukrainian president had publicly invited Trump to visit Kiev, issuing the challenge in response to Trump’s boast that he could end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in just 24 hours if reelected in 2024. Zelensky then declared that if Trump would just come to Kiev, he would need just 24 minutes to convince the American that “he can’t manage this war. He can’t bring peace because of the [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.” It seemed that such an act would symbolize a hands-on involvement in taking the initiative as well as setting the goal to prove Time’s boast as true to would attract benefits of conflict resolution between Russia and Ukraine.
However, Trump publicly turned down the invitation, citing the fact that it would be “inappropriate” to go to Ukraine while Zelensky was dealing with Trump’s successor and 2024 rival, President Joe Biden. Trump wanted to avoid creating a conflict of interest. This comes amid growing uncertainty about Biden’s reelection in 2024, with polls showing Trump pulling ahead despite facing numerous felony charges, which he has been using for fundraising purposes.
Trump and Zelensky’s potential meeting becomes increasingly significant as the US has nearly exhausted the funds it set aside for the conflict in Ukraine after sending over $75 billion to the country over the last two years. A growing faction in Congress is eager to draw the line at any further aid to Kiev. Biden’s proposed $100 billion national security package, which included $61.4 billion earmarked for Ukraine, failed to materialize in Congress when House Speaker Mike Johnson demanded separate bills to fund the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel.
Given these circumstances, Zelensky’s government wants to ensure meaningful conversations with Trump, as the former president’s position regarding Ukraine and potential influence over aid to the country becomes increasingly significant. The 2024 election outcome could cast a shadow on Ukraine’s overall relations with the United States. Hence, a direct conversation between Zelensky and Trump is seen as paramount for the Ukrainian government to maintain its influence and secure its interests.