US says Ukraine must win war to join NATO

To become a NATO member, Kiev has to “win the war” with Moscow first, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists.

US President Joe Biden believes NATO is in Ukraine’s future, but there are “a lot of things that have to be done” before it can join, Kirby said. When a journalist asked him to elaborate on the “vague conditions” and “unclear pathway” Kiev has been given, he claimed that Washington’s position is “absolutely clear”.

“First, they’ve got to win this war,” Kirby added.

“We’re 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 building up Ukraine’s military industrial base, although “corruption is still a major concern”, Kirby added.

Moscow has warned that it sees the expansion of NATO towards Russia’s borders as an existential threat. President Vladimir Putin said Kiev’s stated intention to join the US-led military bloc was one of the key causes of the ongoing conflict.

Last Friday, the Russian leader named Moscow’s conditions for a ceasefire and the beginning of peace negotiations. The talks can start as soon as Kiev withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, and cedes its claims to all five former Ukrainian territories that voted to join Russia, including Crimea, he said.

Moscow will not accept a frozen conflict, which would allow the US and its allies to rearm and rebuild the Ukrainian military, Putin stated, adding that Kiev must formally abandon any plans to join NATO.

The supplies of Western weapons to aid Kiev’s war efforts makes the countries providing them a party to the conflict, Moscow has insisted. Further NATO involvement in the conflict risks a direct clash between Moscow and the US-led military bloc, and threatens to expand into a nuclear conflict, the Kremlin has stressed.

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