Ahead of his five-day Europe tour, President Joe Biden sat down with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Friday for an exclusive interview aired today. The Russia-Ukraine war will feature in Biden’s trip, which begins with a visit to London and culminates with the annual North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Lithuania.

Biden on Ukraine Membership: Not Right Now

Biden said he doesn’t think Ukraine is ready for NATO membership at the present moment. He pointed to the absence of unanimity within NATO on Ukraine’s accession. And he noted that bringing in Ukraine during its war with Russia would formally bring NATO into the war due to the collective defense provision in the treaty’s Article 5. Instead, Biden has said he’s offered Ukraine the same level of security guarantees as it provides to Israel — provided there’s a ceasefire with Russia.

The president also defended his controversial decision to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions, while conceding it was “a very difficult decision on my part.”

He justified the move by saying that the U.S. is low on ammunition and noted that the U.S. is not a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use of these dangerous weapons.

More than 100 other countries are signatories to the convention. Cluster munitions leave behind unexploded ordnance that presents a danger to civilians.


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