In a recent interview with CNN, President Joe Biden revealed that the United States is prepared to offer Ukraine a security arrangement similar to the one currently provided to Israel, rather than granting them membership in NATO. Biden explained that he does not believe Ukraine is ready for NATO membership at this time, as there is not a unanimous agreement within the alliance regarding Ukraine’s inclusion during a time of war.
Membership in NATO would require the commitment to defend all of its territories, meaning that if war were to break out, all member countries would be involved in the conflict. Biden emphasized that if Ukraine were to join NATO, it would effectively mean being at war with Russia.
Ukraine has been pushing for an invitation from NATO or at least a timeline for their potential inclusion, particularly at the upcoming summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. However, President Biden stated that it is premature to hold a vote on the matter now. He described joining NATO as a process that takes time, involving necessary reforms and democratization. The United States believes that Ukraine should follow a rational path to qualify for membership.
The President also mentioned that the United States is prepared to provide Ukraine with security assistance similar to what it provides to Israel. This aid would include the necessary weaponry and capabilities for Ukraine to defend itself. However, Biden clarified that this support would be contingent upon the existence of an agreement, ceasefire, or peace agreement.
It is important to note that there is some ambiguity regarding Biden’s statement, as Ukraine has rejected any notion of a “frozen conflict” or ceasefire. Additionally, the United States has pledged not to negotiate on Ukraine without the involvement of Ukrainian officials, while Russia has expressed a preference for dealing with Ukraine’s Western allies rather than President Zelensky himself.
The concept of an “Israel model” for Ukraine was first mentioned by The New York Times last month. This model would involve a time-limited commitment to provide Ukraine with Western weapons. According to Russian military estimates, the US and its allies have already supplied Ukraine with over $100 billion worth of weapons, ammunition, and equipment in 2022 alone.
President Biden stressed that his priority is to maintain the unity of NATO, as the dissolution of the alliance is seen as one of Russia’s policy objectives. He recalled how Russian President Vladimir Putin had requested a commitment from the United States during the Geneva summit two years ago that Ukraine would not join NATO. Biden refused, citing the alliance’s policy of an “open door.”
In summary, President Joe Biden stated in his interview with CNN that the United States is willing to offer Ukraine a security arrangement similar to the one provided to Israel, instead of immediate NATO membership. He explained that NATO membership for Ukraine is not currently feasible due to the ongoing war and lack of unanimity among alliance members. Providing Ukraine with security assistance and following a rational path to NATO membership were emphasized as crucial steps. The President also highlighted the importance of maintaining the unity of NATO and denied Russia’s request to commit to Ukraine not joining the alliance.