EXCLUSIVE: ORLANDO, Fla. — Former President Trump warned that Russia’s multi-front invasion in Ukraine could lead to "world war" and told Fox News Digital that the Biden administration is going to have to "do a lot more than just sanctions" to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During an exclusive one-on-one interview with Fox News Digital on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, the former president said Russia’s war on Ukraine "never should have happened."

"It is a horrible thing. It would never have happened under any circumstance, and it is what it is," Trump said. "But there's great bravery being shown, and I think they’re doing one hell of a job—much more so than anybody would have thought possible."


When asked if he had a message to Putin, the former president said: "I have no message."

"I just think it's a shame that this is going on. It's something that should not be going on," Trump said.

"Thousands of people, I mean, this can lead to much bigger than this one area," Trump warned. "This could lead to a lot of other countries and can lead to world war."

Trump said "you never know how it starts, in a world war."

Donald Trump speaks at CPAC

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

"You never think a war is going to come out of it," he continued. "All of a sudden, you end up in a world war."

He added: "This is a very dangerous period for our nation, for the country."

Just before the interview, the United States, Canada and other European allies announced additional sanctions on Russia—specifically "selected" Russian banks to be removed from the SWIFT financial system.

Trump, reacting to the sanctions, told Fox News Digital: "They’re going to have to do more than just sanctions, I suspect." 

"But sanctions are not, you know, Putin—he understands how to avoid sanctions, and he goes through other countries," Trump told Fox News Digital. "He goes to China as an example."

Trump, though, said the sanctions "have to be strong, and they have to be swift, OK, to use a word, because that is a very powerful sanction, as you know, SWIFT."

Donald Trump at CPAC

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

"And if they’re not, I can’t imagine—it’s just going to be a question of time," Trump said. "It’s a very ugly thing that's taking place. Should have never happened."

Meanwhile, Trump told Fox News Digital that China has been emboldened by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in regard to its aspirations to take Taiwan.

"I do. I think that China would do that anyway," he said.

But the former president pointed to the "way" the Biden administration withdrew U.S. troops and military assets from Afghanistan, calling it a "surrender."

"Getting out was a good thing. I had it down to two thousand soldiers," Trump said, referring to his decision as commander-in-chief to reduce the footprint of U.S. troops in the region. "We were going to get out with strength and dignity, but to take the soldiers, the great Army out first— we took our Army and Marines—we took them out first to do that and leave the Americans behind, leave other people behind, leave $85 billion worth of equipment behind."

"We had 13 young people that were killed, many that were very badly hurt in the bombing and a couple of other things the way they got out," Trump said, referring to the Aug. 26, 2021 suicide bombing outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul during the withdrawal that took the lives of 13 U.S. service members – including 11 Marines, one Navy sailor and one Army soldier. Eighteen other U.S. service members were wounded. The bombing also left more than 150 civilians dead.

"I really think that was the most embarrassing—one of the lowest points in the history of our country," Trump said. "And President Xi and Putin, they watched that, and I think they probably came up with ideas that they didn't have before seeing it, because it was grossly incompetent."

Trump was asked if the Russian invasion of Ukraine occurred under his administration, what he would do, but told Fox News Digital that he couldn’t say "right now."

"Well, I tell you what, I would do things, but the last thing I want to do is say it right now, because if somebody asks me that is in a position where they can utilize whatever it is I give them," Trump said. "But I certainly wouldn't want to be talking about it on television or to the media too much."

Trump on Russia and Putin

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

He added: "But there are things you can do that would be very powerful." 

Trump said if Biden requested his help, he "certainly would do that," but said the Biden administration is "stuck in this situation that should not have happened, and we’re going to see how it ends up."

"It is very sad, but there is a great amount of bravery being shown right now that’s been pretty incredible," Trump said.

Trump would not say whether he had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"I don’t want to say," he said. "I just don’t want to say." 

Meanwhile, shifting to social media, Trump, who has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat and has launched a social media company of his own, TRUTHSocial, was asked for reaction on Putin’s ability to use the platforms as he wages war.

"There's death in Ukraine, and he's able to use the power of very sick people," Trump said of Big Tech executives. "These are very bad people that control it."

Trump said "what they are doing is so bad for our country."

"Legal or not, I'm not sure," Trump said. "And it gets a lot of people, we will tell you that what they've done is terrible, and we're doing TRUTH Social."

"Truth," Trump said. "It’s about the truth and I think it's going to be very big, and if you look at it now, how well it's doing—people are amazed—it’s trending like, number one all over the place, and it's going to be great, and we need it."

Trump said the platform will give "a voice," saying it is needed.

"Because these people, there's something wrong with them," Trump said. "They’re almost, perhaps, they’re sick. Perhaps they're deranged."


Trump criticized social media companies for allowing "stone-cold murderers and thugs and dictators at a very dangerous level" on their platforms, but "the President of the United States and other people are not allowed to be on."

"It's a disgrace," he said. "And you know, I had hundreds of millions of people, but I think that TRUTHSocial is going to be a way of getting out our voice."

He added: "It’s going to be very powerful."

When asked if he would use the platform he said: "I’ll be using it. Yeah. I’ll be using it."

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