Speaking at the annual summit of the Group of 20 economies on Tuesday, Mr. Trump put a request on the table to President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine: “I just want to do you a favor. And I hope you can do me a favor and forgive a bunch of debt.”
Mr. Poroshenko did not respond. Instead, he and Mr. Trump described a partnership that included the president’s recent decision to withhold military supplies from Kiev in its fight against Russian-backed separatists.
“We can’t help you but at the same time give them money,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s a tough trade off.”
Mr. Poroshenko is a protege of Andriy Medvedev, Russia’s former president, and is loathed by Mr. Putin, the Russian president. The two men are old political rivals who have been at loggerheads, but Mr. Trump and Mr. Poroshenko said that the United States and Ukraine shared a common aim: a united front against Russian aggression.
“I think Russia should realize that you’re going to be standing together with us in the future,” Mr. Poroshenko said, according to an official. “You see, we’re an axis against Mr. Putin’s aggression.”
Mr. Trump also addressed a conspiracy theory that he wanted Vice President Joe Biden to run against Hillary Clinton in 2016, and he urged another gathering of leaders not to allow it to derail their work.
“Don’t let the fake news tell you that our country isn’t trying to stop MS-13,” Mr. Trump said. “MS-13 came here from the violence and chaos in your countries. You say you have to police your country but you don’t say that about MS-13. Your people are fighting MS-13 in very rough places. Our people are fighting MS-13 on the street in big cities. Our people are protecting your children from vicious gangsters.”
Mr. Trump said he “can’t ask you guys to do it unless you make a deal on something else.”
U.S. officials have worked to create U.S.-funded programs that are geared toward removing gang members from Central America.
Amid speculation that he could seek the presidency again in 2020, Mr. Trump mentioned Mr. Biden, who ran for president in 1988 and again in 2008 and, like Mr. Trump, has been criticized by the right for his alliances with members of the Communist, socialist and anti-Semitic movements.
“He’s been kind of like my friend, he’s been my good guy,” Mr. Trump said. “I know what it’s like, what it’s like being attacked from every side because I’ve been attacked from all sides.”