Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump
Ukraine Declares State Of Emergency As Conflict With Russia Heightens Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Chief White House correspondent of The New York Times, Peter Baker, weighed in on why Russian President Vladimir Putin did not engage in military operation in Ukraine under former United States President Donald Trump's administration.

On Tuesday, Trump, 75, said that he knows Putin very well and his aggressive actions in Ukraine would never have happened while he was the president. Meanwhile, reporter Baker addressed Trump's statement, "[Trump] said yesterday 'this wouldn't have happened when I was president,' or somehow he was too tough … It is a good question whether President Trump was volatile enough that President Putin didn't know how he would react to, you know, something more aggressive in Ukraine."

Baker told, "Deadline: White House" that Trump was already doing Moscow's bidding by "driv[ing] a wedge in NATO" by requesting them to pay defense spending as well as not retaliating on Russia's 2014 invasion and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

There are tight tensions between West and Moscow amid the former Soviet country's decision to recognize and roll into separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine. During the Tuesday press briefing, President Joe Biden said that Putin was starting an "invasion." According to him, the stockpiles of blood on the Ukrainian border were a sign of aggressive military intentions. "You don't need blood unless you plan on starting a war," Biden said, referring to Russia's actions.

Meanwhile, Trump then went on to blow up Biden for what he claimed to be a weak response, calling it "very sad."

According to the Associated Press, the Biden administration and the European Union initially announced some sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banks, warning that more measures were to come if Russia proceeded further into Ukrainian territory but withheld the most crippling sanctions pending further action from Moscow. The White House followed up with more sanctions on Nord Stream 2 pipeline, reversing a decision he made in May to lift sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, whose Russian parent company is Gazprom.

Baker suggested that Putin's move into Ukraine was to solidify his legacy. "[Putin] seems to want is to be the leader who brought Russia back together, who reunited some of the empire…That has less to do with us and more to do with him and more to do with his sense of his own historical mission and drive," he added.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
US President Donald Trump (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands before attending a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. - The US and Russian leaders opened an historic summit in Helsinki, with Donald Trump promising an "extraordinary relationship" and Vladimir Putin saying it was high time to thrash out disputes around the world. Photo by Yuri Kadobnov/AFP via Getty Images

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