The White House and the Ukrainian government initially sent conflicting official bills for Monday’s phone call between President Biden and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
Why it matters: Initially, the Ukrainian government announced on its official website that Biden “stressed … the importance of providing the Ukrainian state with a NATO Membership Action Plan,” which will set Ukraine on track for membership in the alliance. The White House has denied Biden support for such a move on the call.
- “Ukrainians mischaracterized the statement and corrected the recording,” a National Security Council spokesman told Axios.
- By Monday night, the Ukrainian government̵
Flashback: Former President George W. Bush first backed the idea of providing Ukraine with a Membership Action Plan – the process by which 11 Eastern European countries joined NATO – in 2008. Thirteen years later, the besieged country is no closer to membership. in NATO.
- Russia, meanwhile, has invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The United States and Europe have sent aid to Ukraine, but have made it clear that they will not use military force to protect Ukraine from Vladimir Putin.
- Zelenski has made NATO integration a top priority, but progress on the front seems unlikely at the moment.
To note: Asked by the White House, he declined to comment on whether Biden supported the idea of offering Ukraine a NATO membership action plan this year.
News drive: During a conversation Monday, Biden invited Zelensky to the White House in July.
Between the lines: The announcement came 18 hours after Axios published an interview with Zelensky in which the Ukrainian president criticized Biden’s work with Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and called on Biden to meet with him “anytime, anywhere on the planet.” to see Putin.
Go deeper: Read the interview