United States President Joe Biden’s administration is committed to keeping NATO’s door open for countries that want to join once they are ready and able to meet the necessary commitments, the White House has said.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre made the comments on Thursday to reporters on Air Force One when asked about the administration’s position on Ukraine joining the defence alliance.
Jean-Pierre noted that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was currently in Kyiv to affirm US “support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence”.
“His trip, also emphasises the importance of Ukraine of passing key legislation to advance, rule of law, anti-corruption and economic reforms that will strengthen Ukraine’s democracy and economy and further Euro-Atlantic integration,” she said.
“The Biden administration is committed to ensuring that NATO door remains open to aspirants when they are ready and able to meet the commitments,” Jean-Pierre added.
Blinken said in Kyiv that Washington could increase security assistance to Ukraine after what he called Russia’s “reckless and aggressive” actions in massing troops near its border.
The US is “making clear our commitment to helping Ukraine defend itself with security assistance, with advice, other allies and partners are doing the same, and also making clear that as happened after 2014, the international community is resolutely against any Russian aggression, reckless actions in Ukraine”, Blinken told MSNBC on Thursday.
Blinken also said Biden was keen to visit Ukraine and meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but gave no details on that or on Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO.
Biden pledged “unwavering support” to Zelenskyy in April as Kyiv and Moscow traded blame for clashes in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region and Russia deployed troops and weapons to the border.
Moscow announced a withdrawal of its forces on April 22, helping pave the way for a summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could take place as early as June.
Ukraine’s standoff with Russia prompted Ukraine to call for the US and Europe to help accelerate its NATO entry.