President Joe Biden said Monday that Ukraine must “clean up corruption” to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
"It depends on whether they meet the criteria. The fact is, they still have to clean up corruption. The fact is, they have to meet other criteria to get into the action plan. And so, school’s out on that question. It remains to be seen," Biden said at a press conference at the NATO summit. "In the meantime, we will do all that we can to put Ukraine in the position to be able to continue to resist Russian physical aggression. And it will not just depend on me, whether or not we conclude that Ukraine can become part of NATO, it will depend on the alliance and how they vote."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been working to end corruption in the country, said Monday that he wanted a simple “yes” or “no” from Biden on whether his nation could gain full membership in the alliance, The Hill reported.
NATO was created in 1949 following the destruction caused by World War II by the United States, Canada, and several other western European nations to provide security against the Soviet Union, according to the United States Office of the Historian.
The treaty views an attack on any member as an attack on all members and ensures a unified response.
According to the article in The Hill, this provision is viewed with some urgency as Russia puts more and more troops at its border with Ukraine, which technically has already been “invaded” by Russia when it illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.
Biden said this dynamic would not stop Ukraine from becoming a full member of the treaty organization.
Ukraine, however, does have a long history of corruption which Zelensky campaigned on cleaning up.
Former President Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for a phone call congratulating Zelensky on his presidential victory and asking him to investigate allegations regarding Biden’s son Hunter, and his ties to the company Burisma,
Trump was acquitted during the impeachment trial in the Senate.
Biden said he spoke to Zelensky by phone before going to the G7 Summit, and Ukraine is likely to come up when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
"I shared with our allies what I’ll convey to President Putin: That I’m not looking for conflict with Russia, but that we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities, and that we will not fail to defend the trans-Atlantic alliance or stand up for democratic values," Biden said at Monday's press conference.
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