On November 11, 2017, while attending the APEC leaders' conference in Danang, Vietnam, US President Donald Trump speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

International events are rarely discussed in the United States. In today’s fast-paced world, there is little time for faraway events with unknown characters.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin has become a rare exception, with its butchery on full display for anybody with a TV screen. However, it’s possible that Americans haven’t yet grasped this alarming reality: The president of the United States, who only left office 14 months ago, sided with the butcher.

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That’s right: In the current conflict between the free world and an autocrat’s criminal aggression, America’s most recent ex-President sided with the authoritarian. It’s not simply that Donald Trump just praised Putin’s strike against Ukraine as “brilliant.” Trump has embraced Putin in ways that are directly related to Russia’s attempt to subjugate the country since the start of his political career.

Money has greased connections between Russia and the famous real estate executive for years. There was the development finance boasted about by Trump’s sons, the Palm Beach house he sold to a Russian oligarch for $95 million four years after buying it for $41 million, and the Manhattan project in collaboration with a mob-linked Russian émigré.

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Even while running for president, he attempted to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. “Will (Putin) become my new best friend?” Trump questioned on Twitter in 2013, when he sponsored a beauty contest there.

The next year, Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Protests in Kyiv prompted a Kremlin ally to resign from office. An American political strategist assisted the overthrown president, who fled to Russia. Paul Manafort, the consultant, then became Trump’s campaign manager in 2016.

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Candidate Trump talked on Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty in a forgiving tone. He considered easing sanctions in order to improve relations with Putin.

President Trump proposed allowing Russia rejoin the G7, an organisation of the world’s largest industrial economies, in order to erase one of Putin’s punishments. Other members, who had partnered with the US to force Russia out during Barack Obama’s presidency, refused to participate.

On the advice of national security officials and Congress, his administration imposed fresh sanctions on Russia. Trump himself raised a dissenting voice. “In almost every case, the sanctions were imposed with Trump whining and saying we were being too tough,” John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, stated recently on Newsmax.

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Throughout Trump’s presidency, Russia posed a threat to Ukraine. In some respects, he bolstered Putin’s position. Trump questioned America’s decades-long commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s defence of European allies. Aides feared that if he won a second term, he would try to pull out of NATO.

He stoked domestic strife in order to further Putin’s goal of weakening American resolve. In 2020, his former Defense Secretary James Mattis remarked, “Donald Trump is the only president in my lifetime who does not endeavour to unite the American people.”

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Trump defended Russia against criticism. He led fellow Republicans in demonising Ukraine by falsely claiming that Kyiv, not Moscow, had interfered in the 2016 US presidential election, echoing Russian propaganda.