President Biden said Wednesday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky understands that NATO membership for his nation, which he has been aggressively seeking, is “not relevant” at this time.
When asked in Europe how long it will take for Ukraine to join NATO, Biden responded, “I think until the war is over.”
“But, look, the one thing Zelensky understands now is that whether or not he’s in NATO now is not relevant as long as he has the commitments that … guarantee his security, along with a number of other NATO countries,” Biden told reporters.
The president and Zelensky met one-on-one in Vilnius, Lithuania, earlier on Wednesday, a day after the Ukrainian president raised criticism over his country not being formally invited to join NATO and not being given a clear timeline for a membership. He bashed the alliance, saying “uncertainty is weakness” and motivates Russia to continue “terror” in its war.
Zelensky on Wednesday said that while he was grateful NATO removed a procedural step for Ukraine to join the alliance, a direct invitation to join would have been ideal.
Biden and other allies have highlighted that NATO members have a responsibility to defend each other to make clear that Ukraine can’t be accepted into the alliance at this time. While Ukraine is still at war with Russia, a NATO membership would mean all of NATO is at war with Russia.
Biden also said last week that Ukraine wasn’t ready for a NATO membership, and, in June, the president said that he wouldn’t make the path to membership for Ukraine any easier.
Source: The Hill