Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his frustration with President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders Tuesday after they opted not to expand the military alliance to include Ukraine.
“It’s unprecedented and absurd when time frame is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership. While at the same time vague wording about ‘conditions’ is added even for inviting Ukraine,” Zelensky complained in a tweet Tuesday.
We value our allies. We value our shared security. And we always appreciate an open conversation.
Ukraine will be represented at the NATO summit in Vilnius. Because it is about respect.
But Ukraine also deserves respect. Now, on the way to Vilnius, we received signals that…
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 11, 2023
Zelenskyy, who is scheduled to join NATO leaders at a summit in Lithuania Wednesday, has been urging NATO leaders to extend membership to his country since before Russian invasion began. His hopes to join the military alliance anchored on a 2008 NATO summit, which declared that both Ukraine and Georgia would someday be able to join the U.S.-led defense coalition but offered up no plan for when it might occur, Reuters reported.
“It seems there is no readiness neither to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the Alliance. This means that a window of opportunity is being left to bargain Ukraine’s membership in NATO in negotiations with Russia. And for Russia, this means motivation to continue its terror. Uncertainty is weakness. And I will openly discuss this at the summit,” Zelenskyy continued.
In a July 9 interview with CNN, Biden rejected the idea of bringing Ukraine into the NATO fold at the moment, telling Fareed Zakaria that the country’s war with Russia would have to end before NATO membership would be on the table. (RELATED: Biden Says Ukraine Is Not Ready For NATO)
“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 a war. We’re at war with Russia, if that were the case,” Biden explained.
Zelenskyy has argued that Ukraine is already in a de facto alliance with NATO. “Our weapons are the weapons of the Alliance. Our values are what the Alliance believes in. Our defense is the very element of the formula of Europe that makes it united, free and peaceful,” Zelenskyy stated, adding that the summit in Lithuania “must confirm all this.”
Biden called for a “rational path” toward Ukrainian membership in NATO, telling CNN that “other qualifications” need to be met, “including democratization and some of those issues.”