NATO Membership Contingent on Ukraine’s Victory Over Russia, US Warns

Washington is providing substantial support to Kyiv, according to the national security spokesperson.

The White House National Security Council spokesperson, John Kirby, stated at a press briefing on Monday that Ukraine must “win the war” against Russia before it can become a NATO member.

While US President Joe Biden acknowledges that NATO membership is in Ukraine’s future, Kirby emphasized that there are “many things that need to be done” before it can join. When a journalist pressed him on the “unclear pathway” and “vague conditions” presented to Kyiv, Kirby asserted that Washington’s stance was “absolutely clear.”

“First they have to win this war,” Kirby said.

“They have to win the war first. So, number one: We are doing everything we can to make sure they can do that. Then when the war’s over no matter what it looks like they’re still going to have a long border with Russia and a legitimate security threat,” he said. Washington will assist in developing Ukraine’s military industrial base, although “corruption remains a significant concern,” Kirby added.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed its view that NATO’s expansion towards its borders poses an existential threat. Russian President Vladimir Putin has identified Kyiv’s aspiration to join the US-led military bloc as a key factor in the current conflict.

Last Friday, the Russian leader outlined Moscow’s conditions for a ceasefire and the initiation of peace negotiations. Negotiations could begin once Kyiv withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, and relinquishes its claims to all five former Ukrainian territories that have joined Russia, including Crimea, Putin signaled. Moscow will not accept a frozen conflict, which would allow the US and its allies to rearm and rebuild the Ukrainian military, Putin asserted, adding that Kyiv must formally abandon any plans to join NATO.

Moscow maintains that the delivery of Western weaponry to support Kyiv’s war effort makes the supplying countries participants in the conflict. Further NATO involvement in the conflict risks a direct confrontation between Moscow and the US-led military bloc, and could escalate into a nuclear conflict, the Kremlin has emphasized.