Zelenskyy invites Trump to observe ‘real war’ at front lines

MUNICH, Germany — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited Donald Trump to travel with him to the front lines of Russia’s full-scale invasion of his country so that the former U.S. leader can experience “real war.”

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference Saturday, where he’s on his latest trip to shore up support among allies, Zelenskyy drew applause from delegates with his invitation to Trump, who has called into question the U.S. commitment to transatlantic security during his campaign for reelection.

If he returns to office after the November vote, Trump is considering scaled-back commitments to some NATO members if they don’t meet spending targets as well as pushing Ukraine to negotiate an end to the war, people familiar with his thinking told Bloomberg this week.

Zelenskyy said during a live interview on stage that it’s important to maintain ties to U.S. officials from both sides of the political divide and that Ukraine “always wanted to involve them in real information, real war.”

“Mr. Trump, if he will come, I am ready even to go with him to the front line,” he added. “We have to demonstrate to people who are decision-makers what does it mean. The real war, not in Instagram.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is one of the front-runners to become the next head of NATO, weighed in on Trump during a panel discussion in Munich, urging people to “stop moaning and whining and nagging” about him.

“We don’t spend more on defense or ramp up ammunition production because Trump may come back,” Rutte said. “All that whining and moaning, I hear that constantly over the last couple of days. Lets stop doing that.”

Zelenskyy was later asked by Dutch television on the sidelines of a meeting with Rutte what he would expect if the Netherlands premier takes over from Jens Stoltenberg when the Norwegian’s mandate ends on Oct. 1.

After joking that their talks “won’t be that polite,” Zelenskyy said that he will count on Rutte’s support for Ukraine’s bid to join the transatlantic defense alliance.

“All these days of the full-scale war, Mark strongly with all his team was with us,” he added. “And I know Mark — he will save the unity in NATO.”