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President Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that he believes that Ukraine is not ready to become a member of NATO and that the country first needs to focus on ending the war with Russia.
The remarks were made during a discussion with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to push for becoming a member state.
“I don’t think it’s ready for membership in NATO,” Biden said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin believed he could “break NATO” with his invasion of Ukraine.
“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,” Biden continued, noting that joining NATO would force all other member countries to defend all of Ukraine while it’s already in a war.
“If the war is going on, then we’re all in war,” Biden said. “You know, we’re at war with Russia, if that were the case. So I think we have to lay out a path, for the rational path for Russia, for, excuse me, for Ukraine to be able to qualify to get into NATO.”
Biden said he told Zelensky that while the process was being worked out, which he said would take a long time, the U.S. would give Ukraine the weapons it needs to defend itself.
“And so I think we can work it out,” he said. “And but I think it’s premature to say to call for a vote, you know, in now, because I, there’s other qualifications that need to be met and including democratization and some of those issues.”
EXCLUSIVE: Biden says Ukraine is not yet ready for NATO membership, saying the war with Russia must end before the alliance can consider adding Kyiv to its ranks. https://t.co/iNx84Zc7r4 pic.twitter.com/z0Ejf6SZlU
— CNN (@CNN) July 9, 2023
Biden’s remarks come as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted last week that he was “working with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to pass a resolution urging the admission of Ukraine into NATO.”
“The best way to prevent future wars and promote peace is to create security guarantees that make aggressor nations think twice before starting wars,” Graham said. “Ukrainian NATO membership is vital to the future security of Europe and the world. I believe there is an overwhelming majority of Senators supporting this proposition.”