US President Biden warned that NATO could be drawn into war with Russia if the alliance admits Ukraine before the conflict ends.
“I think we have to lay out a reasonable path for Ukraine to qualify for NATO membership. I don’t think the member countries would agree to admit Ukraine at this point, while they are in a conflict,” US President Joe Biden said on July 9.
The White House chief further mentioned that if NATO admitted Ukraine, it would imply the entire bloc is in combat against Russia, given NATO’s commitment to collective defense.
The US President referred to Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which declares that an armed attack against one or more NATO countries will be considered an attack against the entire alliance and they may use force in response.
Regarding supporting Ukraine, the US President said that Washington would continue to help Kiev deal with Russian forces. So far, the US has dedicated nearly $100 billion to this effort.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also said on July 9 that he did not expect to be able to join NATO until the end of the conflict, but hoped the upcoming summit of the bloc would send a “clear signal” about the possibility of admitting Kiev.
President Zelensky signed an application to join NATO in September 2022, urging the alliance to swiftly admit Ukraine. However, NATO members remain divided on how quickly the admission should occur, with some countries fearing the move could bring the alliance closer to a conflict with Russia.
Russia has repeatedly declared that one of their main goals is to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO. Moscow views NATO’s eastward expansion as one of the serious security threats, a reason for their campaign in Ukraine.