BREAKING: Biden declares 'Ukraine's future lies in NATO,' promises open ended support for war effort

"We're going to help Ukraine build a strong capable defence, across land, air and sea from which will be a force of stability in the region and deter against any and all threats.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
President Joe Biden spoke in Vilnius, Lithuania, ahead of his anticipated meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, declaring that "Ukraine's future lies in NATO." He also said that the members of NATO would engage in providing security to Ukraine long into the future. In 2021, the White House said Ukraine's membership in NATO was "aspirational."

"I just concluded the first meeting of NATO Ukraine Council," Biden said of the new committee that was formed from among the alliance states.

"And we–all our allies agreed–the future of Ukraine's lies in NATO. That's not a surprise to any of us, I don't think. I hope it's no surprise to you, Mr. President."

"Allies all agreed to lift the requirements for Membership Action Plan for Ukraine and to create a path to NATO membership while Ukraine continues to make progress on necessary reforms."

"But we're not waiting for that process to be finished to make the long-term commitments that we're making to Ukraine security. Volodymyr and I, we– I shouldn't be so familiar–Mr. Zelensky and I talked about the kind of guarantees we could make in the meantime, when I was in Ukraine and when we met in other places."

"And so today, the long-term commitments we're making are backed up by the notion that in the meantime, we're going to provide security to Ukraine, for its needs and against any aggression that may occur."

"Today, the members of the G7 are launching a joint declaration of support for Ukraine and to make it clear that our support will last long into the future. This starts the process by which each of our nations, and any other nation who wishes to participate, will negotiate long-term bilateral security commitments with and to Ukraine."

"We're going to help Ukraine build a strong capable defence, across land, air and sea from which will be a force of stability in the region and deter against any and all threats," Biden said.

"I want to thank my fellow G7 leaders and President Zelensky for their work to make this happen. I think it's a powerful statement, powerful statement of our commitment to Ukraine, as it defends its freedom today, and as it rebuilds the future. We're gonna be there as long as that takes."

Zelensky expressed his gratitude for the security guarantees.

In March 2022, shortly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Vice President Kamala Harris signaled that a reversal would be in order as regarded the commonly held wisdom on Ukraine.

"When I was in Poland," she said in remarks, "I met with US and Polish service members, thanking them for standing with our NATO allies for freedom, peace, and security. The United States stands firmly with the Ukrainian people in defense of the NATO alliance." 

Her remarks were later altered amid controversy over the "in" which was replaced with "[and]," as her initial remarks indicated that defending Ukraine and defending NATO were the same thing.

NATO has dangled membership in the alliance before Ukraine for years. In 2018, NATO demanded that Ukraine implement anti-corruption measures, laying out a framework for how it would do so. Ukraine, they said in a statement, was willing to make the changes. Even so, an invitation to bid for membership was not offered at that time.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and continues to hold that land. Zelensky has said that the war would not end until such time as Ukraine secured Crimea. President Petro Poroshenko signed a constitutional amendment in 2019 that committed the country to securing NATO membership. He said this was a "strategic mission."

As the US signalled support for the bid in 2021, many offered concern that inviting Ukraine into NATO would trigger Russian agression. Ukraine and Georgia were both recognized as part of the USSR by Washington, and both regions have close ties to Russia and Russian people.

The Washington Post said "few things could wound Russian pride more than this proposal for NATO expansion into the heart of the former Soviet space. Russia would surely respond with hostility — perhaps with deniable covert attacks that would make it hard for NATO to decide whether to respond yet leave Ukraine and/or Georgia at risk."

Bringing Ukraine into the alliance while they are actively fending off invaders in their territory would trigger Article Five of the alliance, drawing all NATO states into war to defend Ukraine.
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