Biden says Ukraine not ‘ready’ for Nato membership
President Joe Biden is set to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today as world leaders gather for day two of a key Nato summit.
The bilateral meeting, which will take place at 3.45pm local time (8.45am ET) in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, comes after Jake Sullivan warned that Ukraine’s entry into Nato membership would lead to “war with Russia”.
“Every NATO ally, including the United States, needs to look squarely at the fact that admission to Ukraine into NATO at this juncture means war with Russia. That is an inescapable fact,” he told CNN on Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, Mr Zelensky slammed Nato leaders for not extending membership to Ukraine, calling the inaction “absurd” while Nato leaders – including Turkey – said they would happily welcome Sweden into the membership.
Last week, Mr Biden said he thinks Ukraine is “not ready” for membership.
Following the meeting between the US and Ukrainian presidents, Mr Biden will deliver a speech to Nato leaders highlighting how the US and its allies are supporting Ukraine in the war. Preparation for this “big speech” was given as the reason behind Mr Biden’s decision to shun a dinner with Nato leaders on Tuesday night.
IN PICTURES: Biden at NATO-Ukraine Council meeting
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 13:20
Zelensky ‘confident’ Ukraine will join Nato after war with Russia is over
Volodymyr Zelensky has said he is confident Ukraine will join Nato after the war is over.
Speaking on Wednesday, he said: “It’s all about the security in the east, the European continent, the eastern flank of Nato, and I believe that Nato needs us just as we need Nato.
“I believe that this is absolutely fair, I am confident that after the war Ukraine will be in Nato.
“We’ll be doing everything possible to make it happen so that we, with the United States… have a same understanding and same vision.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain12 July 2023 13:00
US official says Ukraine needs to ‘make reforms’ before it can join Nato
A US official has said that Ukraine needs to “make a number of reforms” before it can join Nato.
“Ukraine still needs to make a number of reforms in order to join,” National Security Council senior director for Europe Amanda Sloat told reporters in a briefing on Wednesday morning.
“We recognise that Ukraine has already made significant progress in terms of reforms … But as both the President [Joe Biden] has said, and as the communiqué made clear, there is still the need for Ukraine to take further democratic and security sector reforms.
“The President has been clear that we think Ukraine can get there. But that is still going to be a requirement for Ukraine to join.”
Despite the officials’ statements on reform, they offered few details on what those reforms should look like in order for the US to back Ukraine’s membership bid.
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 12:40
Marjorie Taylor brands Nato ‘not a reliable partner’ as she calls for US to withdraw
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 12:20
Meanwhile… Biden’s expletive-laden rants at staffers behind closed doors revealed
President Joe Biden is known to privately lose his temper and launch into expletive-filled rants toward his staffers, according to a report from Axios.
The president’s temper is so notorious that some of his staff will not meet with him alone and bring a colleague just for protection.
According to the report, staff say that Mr Biden’s tirades feature him saying “God d***it, how the f*** don’t you know this?!,” “Don’t f***king bullsh*t me!,” “Get the f*** out of here!”
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 12:00
WATCH: The Independent’s Kate Devlin speaks from Nato summit’s second day
The Independent’s Kate Devlin speaks from Nato summit’s second day
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 11:40
Biden about to appear at Nato-Ukraine council meeting
President Joe Biden is about to attend the Meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at the level of Heads of State and Government.
The NATO-Ukraine council meeting was scheduled for 1pm local time (6am ET) but has been delayed until 1.30pm local time (6.30am ET).
According to White House pool: “Before the leaders have arrived, we were positioned on risers to face a crescent table in the center with smaller desks surrounding.
“At the crest of the table was Stoltenberg’s seat, with the Biden’s on the right of him. Next to Biden’s seat is Sunak’s and Zelensky’s is to his right.”
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 11:20
WATCH LIVE: Zelensky speaks at Nato forum on summit’s second day
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 11:04
Why did Biden skip Nato leaders dinner?
Biden skipped the Nato leadership dinner on Tuesday night in Vilnius, Lithuania.
White House officials later cited his busy schedule on his European trip, saying the 80-year-old president chose to instead return to his hotel where he was “preparing for a big speech tomorrow, in addition to another day at the summit”.
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 11:00
Biden’s Nato schedule today
10.15am local time (3.15am ET) – Biden attends the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and Government, with Sweden, Indo-Pacific Partners, and the EU
1pm local time (6am ET) – Biden attends the Meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at the level of Heads of State and Government, with Sweden
3.10pm local time (8.10am ET) – President to take part in a family photo with G7 leaders
3.45pm local time (8.45am ET) – Biden participates in a bilateral meeting with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky
7.45pm local time (12.45pm ET) – Biden to deliver speech “highlighting how the United States, alongside our allies and partners, are supporting Ukraine, defending democratic values, and taking action to address global challenges”
9.10pm local time (2.10pm ET) – Biden departs Vilnius, Lithuania to travel to Helsinki, Finland
Rachel Sharp12 July 2023 10:20