Vladimir Putin could barely contain his excitement Tuesday while discussing Donald Trump, telling a forum in Vladivostok that the criminal cases against the former president are “good” for Russia and that the Kremlin took delight in Trump’s claim he’d swiftly force an end to Moscow’s war against Ukraine.
“As for the persecution of Trump… for us, what is happening in these conditions, in my opinion, is good, because it shows the whole rottenness of the American political system, which cannot claim to teach others about democracy,” Putin said, echoing the former American president’s own oft-repeated claim that “what’s happening with Trump is a persecution of a political rival for political motives.”
While he said he doesn’t expect any major changes in Washington’s stance on Russia regardless of who wins the 2024 presidential election, he noted that the Kremlin was “glad” to hear of Trump’s plans for Ukraine: “We hear that Mr. Trump says he will resolve all burning issues within several days, including the Ukrainian crisis.”
Trump famously praised Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, calling it “pretty smart” to take over the country and expressing awe for how it was done.
“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius,’” Trump said in a radio interview at the time. “Putin declares a big portion of Ukraine, Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’”
He’s also repeatedly said he—the self-proclaimed “apple of [Putin’s] eye”—would “end that war in one day” by forcing Ukraine to “make a deal.”