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Biden says Ukraine not ready for NATO membership

President Biden said that he doesn’t think Ukraine is ready for NATO membership, adding that it’s premature to call for a vote to accept the war-torn country into the alliance.

“I don’t think it’s ready for membership in NATO,” Biden told CNN in an interview that aired on Sunday.

The president added that he doesn’t think there’s “unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war.”

Biden’s comments come as he’s set to leave for Europe and attend the NATO summit in Lithuania on Tuesday where Ukraine’s membership as well as Sweden’s is expected to be front and center of discussions.

“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 president last month said he won’t make it easier for Ukraine to join NATO, noting that the country has to meet the requirements to be a member. But, he also at the time expressed confidence that the membership will happen.

He noted to CNN that NATO members have a responsibility to defend each other so accepting Ukraine into NATO while it is still fighting war means they would all be at a war with Russia. Biden said when it comes to Sweden, however, he was “optimistic” that country could attain membership.

“We’re determined to commit every inch of territory that is NATO territory. It’s a commitment that we’ve all made, no matter what. If the war is going on, then we’re all in a war. You know, we’re at war with Russia, if that were the case,” he said.

The U.S. is sending cluster munitions to Ukraine, a decision that Biden had to defend in the interview with CNN after the approval of the transfer has sparked concern from human rights groups and some congressional lawmakers over the weapon’s ability to harm civilians.

Source: The Hill

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