Biden lays down NATO warning for Ukraine
Ukraine will not have an “easy” entry into the US-led NATO alliance and will be required to meet the “same standards” as any other member of the bloc, US President Joe Biden has declared. His remarks come amid reports of a simplified procedural plan for Kiev, tabled by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
“They’ve got to meet the same standards. So we’re not going to make it easy,” Biden told reporters near Washington on Saturday.
His statement comes in the aftermath of a meeting he had with Stoltenberg, who was hosted at the White House this Tuesday. At the meeting, the NATO chief reportedly floated a plan to simplify the accession process for Ukraine, arguing that Kiev had already made significant progress toward membership.
Under his scheme, the country would not have been required to complete a so-called “membership action plan” (MAP), usually imposed by the US-led bloc on applicants. While other Eastern European members of the bloc went through this procedure before being admitted, the most recent addition, Finland, was spared the process.
Multiple US media reports had suggested Biden appeared to be “open” to the plan and had even provisionally supported it. At the same time, other reporting on the subject suggested Biden had another scheme for Ukraine in mind. For instance, the New York Times reported the US administration was reluctant to ever grant Ukraine full NATO membership, pushing instead for the ‘Israel model,’ which would mean a time-limited commitment to maintain the flow of Western weapons to a designated country.
Joining NATO has been a top talking point for pro-Western Ukrainian politicians for decades already, yet little to no progress has actually been made on that path. The pace has seemingly picked up amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev – triggered, among other things, by Ukraine’s NATO aspirations – with top Ukrainian officials repeatedly urging the US-led alliance to let the country in.