DECEMBER 9, 2022
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Trump and Farage Claim NATO Expansion Provoked Russia to Invade Ukraine

Trump and Farage Claim NATO Expansion Provoked Russia to Invade Ukraine

Former President Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, a right-wing populist from the UK, have both suggested that NATO's expansion plans for Ukraine were a significant provocation for Moscow and a key factor behind Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade the country.

In an interview on the All-In Podcast, Trump stated he would have been willing to halt NATO's expansion to Ukraine. “For 20 years, I heard that NATO, 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, adding that President Biden's commitment to Ukraine's potential NATO membership provoked the war. Trump also mentioned that under his administration, lower oil prices would have prevented the war, arguing that Putin relies on high energy costs to sustain his military efforts.

Similarly, Nigel Farage, leader of the Reform UK party, echoed these sentiments in a BBC interview. Farage recounted his 2014 speech in the European Parliament, predicting a war in Ukraine due to NATO and the EU's eastward expansion. “It was obvious to me that the ever-eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union was giving this man a reason… to say: ‘They’re coming for us again,’ and to go to war,” Farage explained. He emphasized that while Putin is to blame for the invasion, Western actions provided an excuse for the aggression.

Despite his criticism of the war, Trump endorsed greater involvement by America’s European allies. He clarified that he would not deploy American soldiers to Ukraine but suggested that France and Germany should be more actively engaged. “It’s different for France. You know they’re neighbors, more or less we have an ocean in between [the US and Ukraine]. It’s different for Germany, although Germany’s much less involved than they should be,” Trump noted, expressing frustration over the disproportionate financial contributions by the US compared to European countries.

In recent weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron has been coordinating with Kiev on a plan to deploy French and other NATO troops to Ukraine for training purposes. Russia has cautioned that these troops will be considered legitimate targets.

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