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After private meeting with Biden, Ukraine's Zelensky admits that he STILL hasn't received a firm answer from US on NATO membership

After private meeting with Biden, Ukraine's Zelensky admits that he STILL hasn't received a firm answer from US on NATO membership
A week on from his long-sought-after meeting with his American counterpart, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky still hasn't had a direct answer from Washington regarding aspirations for his country to join the US-led NATO bloc.

That's according to Zelensky himself, who admitted to the oligarch-run 'YES' event on Friday that US President Joe Biden did not give him a concrete reply when they met in the White House.

"Yes, we have not received a direct answer regarding Ukraine's accession to NATO," Zelensky said, noting, however, that Kiev authorities have complete confidence that they have America's backing.

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"We can rely on the USA because we have relations on another level," the president noted.

Joining NATO was a stated goal of Zelensky when he was elected leader in 2019, and he has repeatedly begged to be allowed into the alliance. The idea has been less popular with members of the bloc, however, and there appears to be no sign of Kiev being admitted any time soon.

Despite Zelensky's assertion that Biden personally backs Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted earlier this month that Kiev still has "steps" to take.

"Efforts to advance rule of law reforms, modernize its defense sector, and expand economic growth," she noted, as examples.

However, according to Zelensky, his country should be let in as soon as possible.

"Ukraine is ready to join NATO," he said. "We are ready for NATO. At the level of our army, the level of our specialists."

"Our army is one of the most powerful armies in the world today. So when they tell us about reforms in the defense sector or reforms in the army and that this is the reason Ukraine has not joined NATO, it seems to me that this is not a completely honest opinion," Zelensky continued.

Earlier this year, Zelensky told The Washington Post that the West was sending a message to Kiev and other nations aspiring to join the military bloc that they can't be part of the club.

"[It is] a signal to other countries that you guys are not welcome here, and Russia is just around the corner, increasing its clout," he told the American daily.

The Ukrainian government also wishes to join the European Union – another one of Zelensky's key goals. However, in 2016, then-President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said it would take around 20 or 25 years for Ukraine to join the EU and NATO.

The 'YES' Kiev get-together is a showpiece for well-connected billionaire Viktor Pinchuk, who uses it to buttress his influence in Ukraine and the West.

Pinchuk, son-in-law of former President Leonid Kuchma, made a substantial part of his fortune when he acquired a large share in the Krivorizhstal steel factory, in Krivoy Rog, from a privatisation approved by Kuchma. The deal, worth $800 million, was criticized by the opposition and foreign analysts as being an example of corruption and enrichment from state assets.

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Just one year later, the company was sold for $4.8 billion to India's Mittal Steel – a six-fold markup.

Despite this, Pinchuk is lauded by activists in the West, many of whom claim to be committed to fighting corruption. Both NATO's Atlantic Council adjunct and the US and German state-funded GMFUS lobby groups are hosting 'YES' events this week. Speakers include Carl Bildt, Tony Blair, John Bolton, Masha Gessen, Michael McFaul, Stephen Sackur and Fareed Zakaria. Notably, Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian who became famous in the past by railing at billionaires and corruption, is a listed participant.

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