In the excerpt of an interview, which is set to air later Sunday before the Super Bowl, President Donald Trump can be heard defending Russian President Vladimir Putin while speaking to Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

"I do respect him," Trump says, when asked whether he respects the Russian president. "I respect a lot of people but that doesn't mean I'm going to get along with him…he's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not."

Trump added that if Russia helps fight against ISIS and "Islamic terrorists all over the world" then it's "a good thing" — a reference to his earlier statements where he had said that he would revoke sanctions against Russia in exchange for cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State group terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

However, the part of the interview that has raised eyebrows comes when O'Reilly follows up by saying that Putin "is a killer," and when Trump responds by saying: "There are a lot of killers … We've got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country's so innocent?"

President Donald Trump's comments come at a time when he has assured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that he aims to "restore peace along the border" of Ukraine and Russia. 

The U.S. president and his Ukrainian counterpart discussed the intensification of fighting in Ukraine during a call took place at 5 p.m. Saturday. The conflict in Ukraine has, in recent days, exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in areas such as the city of Avdiivka. Besides discussing mutual cooperation to boost economic and strategic ties and a potential visit to Washington for President Poroshenko, the two sides also discussed the need for immediately establishing ceasefire agreement, according to a statement released by Poroshenko's office.

"We will work with Ukraine, Russia, and all other parties involved to help them restore peace along the border," Trump reportedly said during the call.

Trump’s comments follow a private meeting with Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister, Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. The meeting reportedly created a furore and a diplomatic rift, prompting the White House to set up the call with Poroshenko.

Tymoshenko, a member of parliament who is projecting herself as a potential successor to the incumbent president, said that Trump assured her that he would “not abandon” Ukraine. She also said that Trump promised not to lift sanctions on Russia until it had pulled out of Ukraine.

Tymoshenko’s comments about President Trump’s assurances are contradictory to the claims he made during his campaign where he asserted that he may ease sanctions against Russia. Trump had also praised Russian president Vladmir Putin, and, on a few occasions, dismissed reports by U.S. intelligence that suggested that his campaign received a boost against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton due to Russian intelligence facilitating cyberattacks.

Several unanswered questions linger in the aftermath of Trump’s supposed support for Ukraine and Putin — especially regarding the extent to which a hardline position would be embraced, in light of his recent comments defending "killer" Putin. Will the President emulate the hardline approach adopted by  U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley — who rebuked Russia earlier this week and announced that the U.S. will not rescind its sanctions related to the annexation of Crimea? Or will he lift sanctions against Russia if it withdraws from Ukraine’s southern region of Crimea, or for shared support in the fight against ISIS?