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Russia’s War in Ukraine: Live Updates

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5:10 a.m. ET, June 17, 2023

The source says President Biden is ready to remove an obstacle to Ukraine’s NATO membership

By Jennifer Hansler, CNN

President Joe Biden speaks at the annual Conservative League of Voters gala dinner in Washington, D.C. on June 14, 2023.

Susan Walsh/AP

A source familiar with the situation told CNN that US President Joe Biden feels comfortable lifting one of the obstacles to Ukraine joining NATO.

According to the source, Biden would be willing to abandon the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine, which was described in the 2008 agreement as “Ukraine’s next step … on its direct path to membership.”

MAP is described as “a program of practical advice, assistance and support tailored to the individual needs of countries wishing to join the alliance,” a process that other countries must adhere to in order to join NATO.

Why is it important: His withdrawal would be a small step toward making it easier for Ukraine to join the defense alliance.

This is part of a proposal put forward by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and discussed when the two leaders met in Washington earlier this week, the source said.

The source said that the US president is very concerned about finding a concrete proposal that the rest of the allies will support him and tell Ukraine that they are moving towards membership.

However, the US still does not see Ukraine joining the coalition imminent due to the reforms Kiev needs to undertake, and the source said Stoltenberg’s proposal reflects this.

The proposal of the Secretary General of NATO does not specify a specific timetable for Ukraine’s accession to the alliance, which is what some members of the alliance have called for.

CNN reported earlier this week that the US may be willing to drop MAP language, according to a European diplomat.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he understands that his country cannot join NATO while it is still at war.

Maxence Paul

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