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Biden says preparing 'Israel-style' security guarantees for Ukraine

By Al Mayadeen

July 08, 2023: Information Clearing House -- The United States will be offering Kiev a security arrangement that the Israeli occupation currently has, "Israel-style" security guarantees, as the country cannot join NATO yet, US President Joe Biden said during an interview with CNN that aired on Friday.

Biden stated that the United States is prepared to offer Ukraine an alternative to NATO membership in the form of a security arrangement similar to the one currently in place with "Israel". 

Regarding Ukraine's potential NATO membership, Biden expressed his belief that the country was not ready for it, highlighting the lack of agreement within NATO about admitting Ukraine amid the war in Ukraine. 

The concept of the "Israel model" was initially reported by The New York Times last month. It refers to a temporary arrangement aimed at ensuring a continuous supply of Western weapons to Ukraine. 

Russian military estimates indicate that in 2022, the United States and its allies provided Ukraine with over $100 billion worth of arms, ammunition, and equipment.

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"I don't think it's ready for membership in NATO," Biden said of Ukraine. "I don't think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war."

Membership in NATO means a commitment to defend all of its territory, so "if the war is going on, then we're all in a war. We're at war with Russia, if that were the case," Biden told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

Ukraine has long been asking to become a member of NATO, though this is yet to happen, with Biden saying it was too "premature" to call for a vote on the issue, saying the process "takes some time" and involves reforms. 

"And one of the things I indicated is, the United States would be ready to provide, while the process was going on, and that's gonna take a while, to provide security a la the security we provide for Israel: providing the weaponry they need, the capacity to defend themselves," Biden said, adding, "If there is an agreement, if there is a ceasefire, if there is a peace agreement."

Accession out of the question

NATO is split on whether to offer Ukraine a postwar path to membership at next week's conference in Vilnius. At the same time, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union are planning to supply Kiev with "security commitments" to help the country defend itself in lieu of alliance membership.

Earlier in May, The Wall Street Journal reported that NATO's anticipated July summit in Lithuania will feature no progress on Kiev's bid to membership in the military alliance.

"We need practical, concrete steps on the path to Nato membership," Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas told the Financial Times. "I have the feeling that talking about security guarantees actually blurs the picture . . . the only security guarantee that really works and is much cheaper than anything else is NATO membership."

The prospective obligations being debated in Western capitals are mostly around codifying and committing a long-term continuance of help already granted to Ukraine in the areas of weaponry, finance, and training. According to Kallas, this is insufficient to discourage Russia from following through with the military operation. 

NATO agreed in 2008 that Ukraine "would become" a member, but no timetable or path was offered. Allies are presently negotiating the wording of a summit declaration on Ukraine's future membership, with a rift between primarily eastern states seeking an ambitious vow and a group led by the US and Germany that is hesitant.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that one goal of his military operation in Ukraine was to prevent the former Soviet republic from joining NATO, arguing that participation would allow the US to station weaponry in the nation and threaten Russia.

20 states support Kiev's accession

Earlier last month, Ihor Zhovkva, the Deputy Head of the Office of the Ukrainian President, said on June 11 that 20 NATO member countries have supported Ukraine's membership in the US-led military alliance, pending the approval, if any, of the remaining states. 

Zhovkva confirmed on social media that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Kiev, during which the two sides signed a joint declaration.

"The joint declaration clearly registers Canada's support for Ukraine to become a member of NATO as soon as conditions permit," the Ukrainian official indicated.

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