Biden denies Ukraine claim that NATO has ‘confirmed’ Ukraine can join

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President Biden directly denied on Monday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s assertion that NATO leaders had agreed to allow his country to join the military alliance.

Biden refused to give a “yes” or a “no” to Ukraine’s NATO membership at the alliance’s annual summit in Belgium.

“It depends on whether they meet the criteria. The point is, they still have to clean up the corruption. The point is that they have to meet other criteria to enter the action plan. And so, you know, the school is on this issue. That remains to be seen, ”Biden said at a press conference that started more than two hours late and lasted just over 16 minutes.

Biden added: “It will not be up to me alone whether or not we conclude that Ukraine can be part of NATO. It will depend on the alliance and how they vote.

“Congratulate @NATO partners for understanding all the risks and challenges we face. NATO leaders have confirmed that [Ukraine] will become a member of the Alliance and #MAP is an integral part of the membership process. {Ukraine]deserves due appreciation for its role in ensuring Euro-Atlantic security ”, he tweeted.

The MAP, or Membership Action Plan, mentioned in Zelensky’s tweet, defines candidate status to join the alliance, which emerged during the Cold War to counter the Soviet Union. Three other ex-Soviet countries are members of NATO.

President Joe Biden has not confirmed Ukraine will join NATO, as Zelensky said on Twitter.
President Joe Biden has not confirmed Ukraine will join NATO, as Zelensky said on Twitter.
Patrick Semansky / AP

But moments after the tweet, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken denied anything had changed when a Reuters reporter asked him in Belgium.

“Nothing new – nothing changed – it dates back to 2008,” Blinken said, according to CBS News reporter Ed O’Keefe. The top US diplomat was referring to a 2008 NATO conference that the alliance said Ukraine could eventually join. Since then, Ukraine has not received a membership action plan that would put the country on the right track to do so.

Biden told the press conference that the United States and other NATO allies “affirmed our continued support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Ukraine is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe and its politics have wavered between pro-Russian and pro-Western factions since the Cold War.

In 2014, protesters ousted pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych. His ouster sparked counter-protests in the largely Russian-speaking southern and eastern Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea after a contested referendum and two Russian-backed breakaway republics rule parts of eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that he was "confirmed" that Ukraine will join NATO.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that it had been “confirmed” that Ukraine would join NATO.
Sergei Supinsky / AFP via Getty Images

Zelensky said in a group interview with news outlets in Kiev on Monday that he wanted Biden to commit to accepting Ukraine as a member before meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.

“If we are talking about NATO and the MAP, I would really like to get [from Biden] details – yes or no, ”Zelensky said.

White House support for Ukraine’s NATO membership has received mixed messages from Biden aides.

Last month, the White House made a rare foreign policy pivot by simply crossing out the words in the transcript of a press briefing that expressed support for Ukraine’s NATO membership.





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