The White House said Tuesday that NATO membership for Ukraine isn’t going to happen anytime soon since it would mean war with Russia.
“Of course, they are at war right now. So, NATO membership in the immediate future isn’t likely because that would put NATO at war with Russia,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN.
President Biden made similar comments in a recent interview. A direct war between NATO and Russia could quickly escalate into a nuclear conflict, but despite that reality, some ultra-hawks in Washington are pushing for Ukraine to join the alliance.
“I will be working with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to pass a resolution urging the admission of Ukraine into NATO,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote on Twitter on July 7.
Graham claimed an “overwhelming majority of Senators supporting this proposition,” but his idea faced backlash from some Republicans, and there’s no sign that his proposal is moving forward.
Kirby also said Ukraine would need to make more reforms before joining NATO, signaling that even if the war ended soon Kyiv would have a long way to go before becoming a member. “Now there’s some reforms — good governance, rule of law, political reforms — that Ukraine needs to work on,” he said.
Kirby’s comments came as NATO leaders met in Vilnius and released a communiqué that gave a vague promise to Ukraine regarding its membership, drawing a rebuke from Ukrainian President Voldymr Zelensky. The communique said NATO “will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when Allies agree and conditions are met.”
While the Biden administration doesn’t plan to bring Ukraine into NATO anytime soon, it’s also not looking to de-escalate tensions with Russia, continues to escalate military aid for Ukraine, and shows no interest in diplomacy.