"Getting along with [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin is a great thing, we should be doing business with Russia, we should be getting along with Russia, instead of forcing Russia to go into the hands of China," Trump said in an interview with Fox News.
Earlier this month, the US slapped new sanctions on 32 Russian entities and individuals over allegations of their interference in the 2020 US presidential elections and the purported hacking of US software supply chain networks. In addition, the US expelled 10 Russian diplomats from the country.
"The worst thing you could do is put China and Russia together, and they are together, and they get forced together," Trump emphasized.
The one-term US president recalled that during his time in office he strove for better relations with Moscow and Beijing.
"Something is going on with Taiwan, something maybe is going on with Ukraine, this never was a big subject when I was president," Trump said, adding "I got along well with Putin, I got along well with [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] until the COVID came in."
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the fresh round of US sanctions as running contrary to the interests of the two nations. In response to the US sanctions, Moscow banned eight US citizens from entering the country, including US Attorney General Merrick Garland, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The US intelligence community said in its Threat Assessment Report last week that the United States sees Russia and China as its top challengers due to advancements in their military capabilities.
At the end of March, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, discussed bilateral cooperation and agreed to continue to strengthen the Beijing-Moscow partnership. The Russian-Chinese Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation was extended during Lavrov’s official visit to China.