"I believe he had enough time, plenty of time, to understand who Putin is," Zelensky said. Speaking further of Trump, Zelensky described, "I think he was sitting at such a high position where it's not even possible not to recognize that [Putin] is the opponent in terms of values to your own people. He [Trump] has all the might of this country — intelligence, data — to create a psychological profile."
Zelensky further expressed that he was "surprised" at Trump's behavior in the lead-up to the invasion and also "even after the beginning, with a full-fledged invasion."
"Probably he needed this to promote his domestic policy to show that he's ready to find understanding with the president of Russia," the Ukrainian president added.
Zelensky appeared to be addressing Trump's generally positive statements which have come on multiple occasions, including as recently as this month, about Putin as a strategist. Trump had called the Russian leader a "genius" in this regard a mere days prior to the Feb.24 Russian invasion of Ukraine:
Speaking on the Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show, Trump described Putin's tactic of recognizing two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine and sending Russian troops to the regions under the guise of "peacekeeping operations" as "genius" and "very savvy."
Trump doubled down on his praise of the Russian president, telling a crowd at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that Putin was "pretty smart" as he had "taken over a country for $2 worth of sanctions" just as the fully fledged invasion was underway.