Ukraine Can’t Join NATO Until Its War With Russia Is Over – Joe Biden

Ukraine’s war with Russia must first be concluded before the country can join NATO, President Biden said in a CNN interview on Sunday.

In sit-down with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Biden said there was no agreement yet within NATO on when to allow Ukraine to join the military alliance.

The United States President also noted certain issues with Ukraine’s eligibility, such as a lack of democratization.

“I think we have to lay out a rational path for Ukraine to be able to qualify to be able to get into NATO,” Biden told CNN.

“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 said. “For example, if you did that, then, you know – and I mean what I say – 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 war. We’re at war with Russia, if that were the case.”

Biden nevertheless vowed to continue sending aid to Ukraine as it works to fend of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. The U.S. has already contributed nearly $100 billion to the effort.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has lobbied to join NATO for months in the wake of Russia’s invasion. Such a move would oblige the U.S. and Western allies to join the conflict fully and declare war on Russia, a prospect Biden is not ready for.

Biden has also endorsed the idea of delivering F-16 fighter jets to Ukrainian forces. Such a move would require months of training for Ukrainian pilots, something that is already underway. While Biden had previously opposed the idea in January, he shifted his stance and called for training to begin in May.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden left his county earlier today, Sunday, for Britain to meet with King Charles III before continuing to Vilnius for a NATO summit, then a final stop in new NATO member Finland.

Biden departed Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and was due to arrive in key US ally Britain late Sunday.

According to Associated Free Press(AFP), on Monday, he meets with the British monarch at Windsor Castle, one of the royal residences, for the first time since Charles III’s coronation. The US president did not attend the ceremony, sending First Lady Jill Biden instead.

Their talks are expected to focus on environmental issues, the White House said. Biden will also be meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street.

The main part of Biden’s Europe trip will be the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital Tuesday and Wednesday, where the Western allies will discuss helping Ukraine to oust Russian occupation forces.

Biden hopes to use the summit to pressure Turkey into dropping opposition to Sweden’s all-but-cleared NATO membership bid. But he has said he will resist calls for promising Ukraine quick entry into the alliance. Entry requires unanimous consent from the other members.

While in Vilnius, Biden will also deliver a major foreign policy speech at the city’s university.

His trip comes in the wake of a controversial decision to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions, which most NATO member countries have banned but which the United States continues to use and says will help Ukraine destroy heavily dug-in Russian forces.

Biden’s final stop before returning to Washington on Thursday will be Finland, which ended its historic neutrality to enter NATO in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Biden will be the first US president to visit Helsinki since Donald Trump went five years ago to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.