Zelensky Warns That Trump Doesn’t Know Putin, Fears Consequences of a Trump Victory in New Interview

By: Alex Trent | Published: Feb 26, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned America and his Western allies about the possible consequences of a Donald Trump presidency in a new interview Sunday.

The president of war-weary Ukraine told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that he is confounded about how Trump could possibly side with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he sees as the aggressor in the war between the two countries.

Trump Doesn’t Know Putin

Zelenksy gave his thoughts on the relentlessness of Putin as someone who has fought him for the past two years, contrasting his experience with Trump’s.

A close-up of Donald Trump in a suit and a blue tie, with a blue and black background.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

“I think Donald Trump doesn’t know Putin,” Zelensky said. “I know he met him… but he never fought with Putin. [The] American army never fought with the army of Russia. Never… I have a better understanding,” he said. (via CNN)


Putin Will Never Stop

The Ukrainian President continued to emphasize how little Trump knows of Putin’s actual temperament and willingness to wage war. In the CNN interview, he said “I don’t think he understands that Putin will never stop.”

A photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting in a chair.

Source: Palácio do Planalto/Wikimedia

According to AP News, Putin, and the Russian government seem to be currently engaged in a wait-and-see strategy, hoping to see Western support for Ukraine fade so they can claim victory

Russian Misinformation

During the conversation, Zelensky tried to make sense of how there could be anyone in the West who would support Russia and Putin. To explain the surprising support, he asserted that Russia is spending “billions” towards the end of promoting false information about the war in Ukraine, according to CNN.

A Russian solider standing while a military parade drives by.

Source: Vyacheslav Argenberg/Wikimedia

In his view, this Russian campaign has been successful in influencing debate in the West, particularly in America.

Russia’s Support Surprised Zelensky

“I was surprised that they are strong even in the United States, in the EU (European Union), all over the world. They put a lot of money (in)to this,” Zelensky said. (via CNN)

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Avdiivka in 2023 in front of a blue and yellow sign and Ukrainian flag.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

ProPublica reported shortly after the war began in 2022 that an infamous Russian Farm immediately started releasing waves of pro-Putin and anti-Ukraine disinformation.

False Soldier Numbers

According to CNN, one of the ways that Russia is using misinformation to manipulate the perception of the war is by inflating the number of casualties reported from the Ukranian side.

Russian soldiers tand at the Rzhev Memorial

Source: Администрация Президента России/Wikimedia

By inflating casualty numbers, Russia hopes to increase the perception they are winning the war easily, hoping to discourage other countries from continuing to support Ukraine.


Zelensky Decides to Share Numbers Himself

For the first time since the war began, Zelensky decided to share the Ukrainian soldier casualty number himself, saying “We’ve had enough of the lies.” (via CNN)

Volodymyr Zelensky speaking in 2022.

President of Ukraine/Wikimedia

According to Zelenky, 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the conflict so far. Zelensky hopes by sharing the numbers people in the conversation, including US politicians, will stop sharing what he considers inaccurate numbers.


Real Numbers are Difficult to Confirm

CNN said that they cannot independently confirm Zelensky’s numbers, as the fog of war makes it difficult to completely ascertain the true extent of the death toll.

A Ukrainian soldier conducting an operation during the war in Ukraine.

Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Wikimedia

US officials have independently estimated that at least 70,000 soldiers have been killed in the Ukrainian war, with nearly twice that number being wounded, according to CNN.


Millions Will Die

Among Zelensky’s warnings to the West is his prediction that “millions will be killed” if the US stops aid to the Ukrainian war effort. (via CNN)

An Ukrainian solider holds a rifle in front of an armored vehicle.

Source: Walter Van Ochten/Wikimedia

His fears may be justified, CNN previously reported that Trump would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” when talking about a hypothetical situation when a non-paying NATO ally was attacked.


Ukraine is Struggling in the War

The two years of war have not been kind to the country of Ukraine. Earlier this year they suffered a major defeat that forced them to withdraw forces from the east, including the city of Avdiivka, which has been held for over 10 years. (via CNN)

Ukrainian soldiers investigate a destroyed car, looking for evidence of explosives.

Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Wikimedia

Zelensky placed the blame for the withdrawal on a shortage of ammo for his troops, which made the defense of the city impossible.


Zelensky Doubts Gains Are Possible Without Western Help

In the CNN interview, Ukraine’s President detailed the struggles he foresees in the future where the US is not actively supplying his military, doubting they could gain any ground in the war.

Amid blue and yellow Ukrainian flags, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy talks at a podium beside the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Source: President.gov.ua/Wikimedia Commons

“People will be prepared, but ammunition will not be prepared and brigades will not be ready… not only for our counter-offensive, they will not be ready to defend, to stay strong. It will be very difficult,” he said.


Plea to Biden

Zelensky ended the interview with CNN by recounting his plea to US President Joe Biden.

A 2021 portrait of President Biden wearing a suit and smiling in front of a US flag.

The White House/Wikimedia Commons

“I asked President (Biden)… ‘please, president, I’m asking you to help me and to help the Ukrainian people… please have one meeting with each other, Democrats and Republicans, and please, can you have a deal?’” he said.