Biden says no to Ukraine's NATO membership

 July 10, 2023

President Joe Biden said that Ukraine is not ready to become a member of NATO, noting that the numbers are not there to support adding the country to the Western group of nations.

Biden referred to the timing as "premature" during a CNN interview on Sunday.

The president's statement

“I don’t think it’s ready for membership in NATO,” Biden said in an interview with Fareed Zakaria that aired Sunday.

“I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war," he continued.

The details

“I think it’s premature to say — to call for a vote…there’s other qualifications that need to be met, including democratization and some of those issues,” Biden told CNN.

“I think we have to lay out … the rational path for Russia — for, excuse me, for Ukraine — to be able to qualify to get into NATO,” he added.

The background

"Russian President Vladimir Putin has used Ukraine’s bid to join NATO as one of his reasons for launching his invasion of the neighboring country Feb. 24, 2022," the New York Post reported.

"It has been 15 years since NATO leaders in 2008 said Ukraine could eventually become a member, but the alliance has stayed largely mum on the topic in the years since, as the accession of the country that shares so much of its northern, eastern and southeastern border with Russia," it added.

The interview was released as Biden departed from the U.S. to the United Kingdom on Sunday to meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles III.

The president is also headed to the NATO summit this week in Lithuania where Ukraine will be a focus of discussion.

The interview was clear that NATO membership will not be happening during this meeting as leaders focus on helping Ukraine with its current invasion instead of addressing membership, perhaps in an effort not to escalate the situation with Russia as its invasion nears one-and-a-half years in Ukraine.

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