A senior administration official says US President Biden has made no assurances or commitments privately to Russian President Vladimir Putin about Ukraine’s NATO membership that he hasn’t made in public.
There hasn’t been any position change in the US view of NATO’s membership, which is that they remain committed to an open door policy for the defense alliance.
Still, as Biden stated most clearly last month, there is no expectation that Ukraine would be able to join NATO anytime soon.
“The likelihood that Ukraine is going to join NATO in the near term is not very likely, based on much more work they have to do in terms of democracy and a few other things going on there, and whether or not the major allies in the West would vote to bring Ukraine in right now,” Biden said.
Earlier Monday in a security council meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Biden had given him an assurance Ukraine would not be admitted to NATO soon and its potential membership might be subject to a moratorium.
“The American colleague assured me that Ukraine is not going to be admitted [to NATO] tomorrow,” Putin said. “Moreover, some kind of moratorium is possible.”
“My answer is simple: We believe that this is not a concession to us, it is simply the implementation of your plans,” Putin added.
Before leaving the Munich Security Conference Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters, “NATO is a membership — it is about nations coming together as a group, making decisions collectively, around again, principles, and what will be then the conditions and the standards of membership. And so that is the process. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
“No one country can say I want to be in, therefore I will be, and no one country can say you can’t be. And isn’t that at the heart of the very issue we are presented with in terms of Russia’s aggression, or stated aggression towards Ukraine,” she continued.
CNN’s Nathan Hodge and Anna Chernova contributed reporting from Moscow.
Putin expected to deliver an address soon, Russian state news agencies report