NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said the vote on Ukraine’s entry into the alliance did not meet unanimous consent.
The NATO top boss rejected Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky's claim that NATO leaders "confirmed" that Ukraine would become a member.
"NATO leaders confirmed that (Ukraine) will become a member of the Alliance. The Membership Action Plan (MAP) is an integral part of the membership process," Zelensky wrote on Twitter. "If we are talking about NATO and the MAP, I would really like to get (from Biden the) specifics – yes or no. We must get clear dates and the likelihood of this for Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian leader was speaking on the same day as NATO members met for a one-day summit in Brussels. Ukraine has expressed disappointment in not being invited to the meeting.
The non-decision is the latest setback for the nation in the years since Russia forcibly annexed the Crimean region of the country in 2014, sparking international outrage. Since then, Ukraine has been in a tense struggle with Russia amid a separatist rebellion supported by Russia that has claimed the lives of more than 14,000 people.
NATO nations have a mutual-defense pact, meaning if one nation is attacked, the others will join in the response. It's a provision that has been invoked only once, after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
NATO and the U.S. have made it clear they will do everything in their power to help Ukraine continue to resist Russian aggression, whether or not Ukraine joins the alliance.
Stoltenberg denied Zelensky’s announcement of NATO leaders confirming Ukraine’s membership. Biden, who has previously called for Ukraine to join NATO, also made clear that such a move had not been approved yet.
"School's out on that question. It remains to be seen. In the meantime we will do all we can to put Ukraine in a position to be able to continue to resist Russian physical aggression,” Biden remarked, ahead of his long-awaited meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16.
"It depends on whether they meet the criteria. The fact is they still have to clean up corruption and the fact is they have to meet other criteria to get into the action plan,” Biden added.