President Joe Biden said Wednesday that Ukraine should be allowed to join NATO “an hour and 20 minutes” after the war with Russia ends.
The president sat down with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lithuania on the sidelines of the NATO summit to discuss America’s commitment to the war-town country. After the bilateral meeting, ABC’s Justin Gomez asked Zelenskyy how soon he would like the country to join the military alliance “after the war” with Russia.
“An hour and 20 minutes,” Biden responded, seemingly joking. Zelenskyy did not answer the question.
The president has previously said Ukraine is not yet ready to join the alliance due to the ongoing war. (RELATED: Biden Says Ukraine Is Not Ready For NATO)
“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 told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview published Sunday. “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.”
“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 added.
Zelenskyy responded with apparent frustration at NATO not providing a timeline for Ukraine to join.
“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,” Zelenskyy tweeted.
In Wednesday’s bilateral meeting, Biden also assured Zelenskyy the U.S. would continue to back Ukraine with support.
“The United States is doing everything we can to get you everything we can,” Biden told the Ukrainian president. “Bad news for you is we’re not going anywhere.”
The White House did not immediately respond to an inquiry from the Daily Caller.