Former President Donald Trump blamed the United States for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, claiming the White House “taunted” Russian President Vladimir Putin and “almost forced” him to go into the conflict.

“They actually taunted him, if you really look at it. Our country, and our so-called leadership, taunted Putin,” Trump said during an interview on Real America’s Voice, a right-wing network that strongly supports him. “I said, you know, they’re almost forcing him to go in with what they’re saying. The rhetoric was so dumb.”

Trump did not provide examples to back his claims that the U.S. government taunted Putin. Repeating false claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen,” he said the war in Ukraine would not have happened if he was still president.

“I got along very well with both [Volodymyr] Zelensky and Putin,” Trump said. “If you remember, Zelensky was very nice because when they asked him about the Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine hoax—that was the phone call—he looked at them and said, ‘What was wrong with the call? He did nothing wrong.'”

William Pomeranz, the Director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, noted President Joe Biden said the invasion was unrelated to NATO expansion.

“It’s something Putin has been thinking about for many years,” Pomeranz told Newsweek. “I think Putin basically launched this campaign to annex what was two territories—but is now four territories—to expand the Russian Federation. I think this was an example of imperial intent. He wanted to expand his territory and the Russian empire.”

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