Russia is counting on Donald Trump’s return, President Petr Pavel has claimed, disputing Moscow’s public position
The Ukraine conflict may experience a “significant shift” next year, and not “in the good sense of the word,” Czech President Petr Pavel told the news service of the web portal Seznam.cz in an interview published on Monday.
The Czech leader, who previously served as a senior NATO military official and is a staunch supporter of Kiev in its fight with Moscow, pointed to the 2024 presidential election in the US as the key moment for the confrontation.
He claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was counting on Donald Trump winning at the ballot box come November and then striking a deal with Russia on Ukraine, which would ignore the wishes of Kiev and other European nations.
The outcome, according to Pavel, would be “some kind of compromise that would theoretically return Russia to the status of a key player, and the others would have to put up with it somehow.” He described the scenario as “unfavorable” for EU nations, including his own.
In his public statements, Putin previously rejected the analysis outlined by Pavel. He argued that the personality of the US president was largely irrelevant to the country’s policy vis-a-vis Moscow.
“[Trump] was accused of having a special relationship with Russia, which is total nonsense and bulls**t. But he was the president who introduced the most sanctions against Russia,” Putin noted in September at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
The US elites perceive Russia as an existential enemy, he added. They suppress the voices of Americans, who want good relations with Moscow, the Russian leader claimed.
“We have no idea who will be elected, but whoever it is, the anti-Russian vector of US policy is unlikely to change,” Putin concluded.
Kiev has recently suffered a series of setbacks in terms of securing Western aid on both sides of the Atlantic. In Washington, a partisan conflict over border security caused a White House request for over $60 billion in additional Ukraine assistance to be blocked. In Brussels, Hungary vetoed a European Commission proposal to allocate €50 billion ($54 billion) over four years to support Kiev.
In his interview, Pavel also said Putin had “made it clear” that peace talks on Ukraine are only possible with the US, and not Kiev or any European nation. Moscow perceives the conflict to be part of a Washington-led proxy war against Russia and believes the US has the ultimate say on it.