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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to Wolfspeed, a semiconductor manufacturer, as he kicks off his Investing in America Tour on March 28, 2023, in Durham, North Carolina. (Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)
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Peace in Ukraine means a guarantee that Russia will never occupy the country again, but Kyiv's membership in NATO is not necessary for this, U.S. President Joe Biden told in an interview with Time published on June 4.

Biden said that he had not been prepared to support the "NATOization of Ukraine before." A part of the condition for peace in Ukraine is the relations with Kyiv, like with other countries, "where we supply weapons so they can defend themselves in the future."

"Peace looks like making sure Russia never, never, never, never occupies Ukraine. That's what peace looks like. And it doesn't mean NATO, they are part of NATO," Biden said.

Kyiv did not receive the much-desired invitation nor a firm deadline to join the alliance during the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, even though NATO took steps to tighten cooperation.

Ukrainian officials have voiced hope that the Washington meeting, scheduled for July 9-11, will bring a more definite signal.

Julianne Smith, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, said that Kyiv is unlikely to receive a membership invitation at the alliance's July summit, promising to offer a security package as a “bridge” to membership.

Biden said that when he visited Ukraine as a senator and vice president years ago, "there was significant corruption, a circumstance that was really difficult."

"The point is, though, that if we ever let Ukraine go down, mark my words: you will see Poland go, and you will see all those nations along the actual border of Russia, from the Balkans and Belarus, all those, they are going to make their own accommodations," he added.

Ukraine applied for NATO membership in September 2022, half a year into Russia's full-scale invasion.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has repeatedly called on partners to issue a membership invitation to Kyiv, said that Ukraine will join NATO only after Russia's full-scale war ends, echoing the words of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Deputy PM: NATO summit to express position on roadmap, irreversibility of Ukraine’s membership
Partners assured Kyiv that the Washington summit would define a specific position for Ukraine’s membership in NATO, namely its irreversibility and the roadmap toward it, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said on May 29.

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