The United States may be cooling to the notion of extending NATO membership to Ukraine in the foreseeable future, the Financial Times reported last Thursday.
Last week, NATO formally welcomed Finland as the newest member of the alliance, prompting Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to say that his country aspires to become a full NATO member.
But according to officials familiar with the talks taking place in the lead-up to the July NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, the US believes pursuing NATO membership for Ukraine would distract from the country’s immediate security needs while bolstering Russia’s war propaganda efforts, the Financial Times reported.
The officials who spoke with the Financial Times said NATO members Poland and Estonia are among those who don’t want to wait to have Ukraine join the alliance.
Last week, Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told Politico that it was vital for NATO to show Ukraine that it is taking its application to join the alliance seriously and that progress is being made.
NATO initially welcomed Ukraine’s desire to join the alliance in 2008 but since then has not pursued the matter further. While the United States wants Ukraine to join NATO, the Biden administration’s position is that this isn’t the right time.
One US official told the Financial Times that before discussing the timing and logistics of Ukraine joining the alliance, NATO must first make sure that Ukraine prevails in the war and remains a sovereign and independent country.
During last Thursday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about the president’s position on Ukraine becoming a full member of NATO.
Jean-Pierre explained that while the White House supports making NATO membership available to any country that wants to join, right now, the White House is focused on ensuring that the people of Ukraine “have what they need to fight for their freedom.”