(CTN NEWS) – An official familiar with the matter has confirmed that President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the NATO summit on Wednesday.
This meeting signifies a show of unity, considering there had been uncertainty regarding Zelensky’s attendance at the summit.
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a major topic on the NATO leaders’ agenda, along with discussions about Ukraine’s potential future membership in the alliance, which has generated some division among the leaders.
The initial report about the meeting was made by Politico. The summit’s agenda will heavily focus on Ukraine as President Biden aims to maintain the group’s solidarity in the face of Russia’s invasion.
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine dominates NATO Leaders’ Agenda
NATO is grappling with the question of whether Ukraine should be granted a pathway to NATO membership and considering providing additional military assistance to support Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
Regarding Ukraine’s membership in NATO, President Biden expressed reservations due to the ongoing war and the need for Ukraine to implement reforms before joining the alliance.
In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria last week, he stated that there is no consensus within NATO on whether Ukraine should be integrated into the NATO family amidst an ongoing conflict.
Zelensky previously emphasized that his attendance at the summit is not for mere enjoyment but to seek a clearer pathway for Ukraine’s NATO membership, along with security guarantees.
He stated in an interview with ABC that it would be a significant message to demonstrate that NATO is not afraid of Russia. Zelensky believes Ukraine should receive explicit security assurances while not yet being a part of NATO.
Without such conditions, the meeting would lack significance and be perceived as another political gesture.
President Biden and President Zelensky have had several prominent meetings in recent months.
Zelensky’s first trip outside Ukraine since the war began was to Washington, where he was warmly received by Biden in the Oval Office and delivered a speech to Congress just before Christmas.
A couple of months later, Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv to reciprocate the gesture and announced a $500 million assistance package.
The visit was marked by dramatic scenes, with air raid sirens sounding as the two presidents walked near the gold-domed St. Michael’s Cathedral.
Their most recent face-to-face meeting occurred in May at the G-7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
During the summit, Zelensky took the opportunity to appeal to world leaders for increased assistance, as it came shortly after the Russians captured the town of Bakhmut following intense fighting.
Criticism of Biden’s Decision to Provide Cluster Munitions at NATO Summit
At the current NATO summit, Biden may face criticism from allies regarding his decision to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine for the first time.
This move, intended to enhance Ukraine’s offensive capabilities, has resulted in some public disagreement from allied nations. Biden acknowledged it as a “difficult decision” during his interview with Zakaria but justified it by emphasizing Ukraine’s dwindling ammunition supplies.
On Friday, Zelensky expressed gratitude for a defense aid package received from the United States, describing it as “timely, comprehensive, and much-needed.”
In a Twitter message, he thanked the American people and President Joseph Biden for their resolute actions that bring Ukraine closer to victory over its adversaries and promote democracy over dictatorship.
He further stated that the expansion of Ukraine’s defense capabilities would provide additional means for reclaiming occupied territories and advancing peace.
RELATED CTN NEWS: