Wed. May 18th, 2022

Ukraine is not a NATO member and Kiev has recently indicated it is now ‘less passionate’ about joining

US Vice President Kamala Harris has said that by fighting Russia Ukraine is defending the US-led military alliance in an apparent gaffe.

In a speech to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) winter meeting in Washington, DC, on Saturday, Harris argued that Russia’s offensive in Ukraine “threatens not just Ukraine’s democracy” but “democracy and security across Europe,” as well as overseas.

“The ocean that separates us will not leave us untouched by this aggression,” Harris claimed, before seemingly suggesting that Ukraine is doing NATO’s bidding.

“So I will say what I know we all say, and I will say over and over again: The United States stands firmly with the Ukrainian people in defense of the NATO Alliance,” she said.

However, the transcript of the speech released by the White House suggested that Harris misspoke with “and” being added before “in defense of the NATO Alliance.”

“The United States stands firmly with the Ukrainian people [and] in defense of the NATO Alliance,” the transcript reads. 

That did not stop the VP’s critics on social media from accusing her of a foreign policy blunder. Some Republicans questioned whether Harris mistakenly believed Ukraine was a member of the alliance.

While Kiev was initially passionate about joining NATO, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky indicated this week that he had become less interested in the idea, accusing the US-led military block of not doing enough to support Ukraine. NATO has previously rejected Zelensky’s appeal for the establishment of a no-fly zone over the country, arguing it would drag the whole alliance into the conflict with Russia.

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Protesters wrapped in NATO, Ukrainian, and Belarusian flags in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2022. © John MacDougall/AFP
Zelensky ‘less passionate’ about Ukraine joining NATO

“I’ve become less passionate about this issue after we understood that NATO isn’t ready to accept Ukraine,” said Zelensky on Monday, accusing NATO of being “afraid of controversial things and a confrontation with Russia.”

“I’ve never wanted Ukraine to be a country that is on its knees, begging for something. And we’re not going to be that country,” he added.