Ukraine Can Work to Meet Standards to Become NATO Member, State Dept Says

Recent weeks have seen a tense standoff as Russian troops moved south for readiness drills and Kiev and Washington declared a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent. Earlier this year, Kiev laid out plans to retake the Crimea, which voted to rejoin Russia in 2014 following a US-backed right-wing nationalist coup in Kiev.

“I think you are very aware that the Biden administration remains committed to ensuring that NATO’s door remains open to aspirants when they are ready and able to meet commitments and obligations. We are committed certainly to ensuring that the country like Ukraine can work to meet those standards,” Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker told reporters Friday.

In June 2020, the NATO alliance recognized Ukraine as an “enhanced opportunities partner,” a change the alliance said “aims to maintain and deepen cooperation between Allies and partners that have made significant contributions to NATO-led operations and missions.”

However, it also noted that the change “does not prejudge any decisions on NATO membership.” Other NATO enhanced opportunities partners include Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden.

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Tensions have been high between Ukraine and Russia since February 2014, when a US-backed coup forced then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from power and ushered in a right-wing nationalist government bent on reducing the status of the country’s…

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