Trump Says 'Lot of Love' Behind Putin Wanting to 'Make His Country Larger'

Former President Donald Trump said there is "a lot of love" behind Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to make "his country larger" on Sunday as Russian troops continued to invade Ukraine.

Trump discussed the conflict during an appearance on Fox News host Jeanine Pirro's radio show Sunday. He said he believes Putin's ultimate goal is to eventually rebuild the Soviet Union, and he went on to explain what he believes to be Putin's mindset.

"You say, what's the purpose of this? They had a country. You could see it was a country where there was a lot of love and we're doing it because, you know, somebody wants to make his country larger or he wants to put it back the way it was when actually it didn't work very well," Trump said.

Some critics, however, took issue with Trump's use of "a lot of love," pointing to the widespread destruction and thousands of casualties the invasion has caused in Ukraine.

"Does his love extend to the maternity hospitals and cancer hospitals he's bombing?" wrote Twitter user @dkxkee.

According to the United Nations, hundreds of Ukrainian civilians have been killed during the invasion in addition to thousands of soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

Russia has also faced allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes over alleged targeted attacks on civilians, including ones on kindergartens and hospitals. On Sunday, the military faced criticism after United States filmmaker and journalist Brent Renaud was shot dead by Russian troops.

Trump previously faced backlash for some comments made about Putin, including calling his decision to move troops into two regions of Ukraine for "peacekeeping" purposes "genius."

On Sunday, however, Trump had harsher words for the Russian president, as well.

He called the Ukrainian invasion a failure, noting that he believes Putin expected the invasion to be complete in a matter of days. He said Putin has a "big ego," while warning he would continue to get "more and more ruthless" but would ultimately struggle to permanently occupy Ukraine.

Others have also voiced similar concerns that Putin's effort may not end at Ukraine. The invasion followed years of tensions between Ukraine and Russia over Ukraine strengthening ties to western Europe and NATO, while also distancing itself from Russia.

Former NATO commander James Stavridis also said he is concerned Putin has his sights set beyond Ukraine and could work toward taking former Soviet states including Belarus, Georgia or Moldova.

Newsweek reached out to the office of former President Donald Trump for comment Sunday afternoon. This story will be updated with any response.

Trump says Putin "lot of love" country
Former President Donald Trump said Sunday there is “a lot of love” behind Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to make “his country larger.” Above, Trump in Orlando on February 26. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images