Kamala Harris Says U.S. Supports Ukraine ‘in Defense of NATO’

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, meets with U.S. and Polish troops at Warsaw Chopin International Airport, in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, March 11, 2022.
Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP

Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday said on Twitter that the United States supports Ukraine “in defense of the NATO alliance,” a confusing comment given that Ukraine is not a member of NATO and the military alliance has no formal role in Ukraine’s war against Russia.

“The United States stands firmly with the Ukrainian people in defense of the NATO alliance,” Harris declared, sharing a photo showing her visiting with American and Polish service members in Poland.

Harris has not elaborated on her statement at press time. The image on the post is from her visit to Poland last week; she is scheduled to be at the White House on Tuesday.

During her visit to Warsaw, Harris reaffirmed a commitment to defend “every inch of NATO territory” in response to Russian leader Vladimir Putin launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, but mentioned Ukraine only once and emphasized instead the relationship between America and Poland, both NATO member countries.

“I’ve said in many places, I will say again today, that part of being in the NATO Alliance means that we have a motto which we (inaudible): An attack against one is an attack against all,” Harris said, according to the official White House transcript of her remarks. “In this moment of Russian aggression and Putin’s war, we take seriously our commitment to defend, if necessary, every inch of NATO territory. So that is why I’m here, to reinforce and reaffirm that commitment. But these men and women are on the ground to see it through as necessary.”

Harris appeared to use the same line from her post on Twitter in remarks this weekend to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) winter meeting, appearing to suggest that Russia’s war in Ukraine may expand outside of the latter’s borders. The official White House transcript added “[and]” to her statement, appearing to convey that America supports Ukraine to defend NATO.

“Russia’s invasion threatens not just Ukraine’s democracy, it threatens democracy and security across Europe. And by extension, when democracy is threatened anywhere, it threatens us all,” Harris said. “And the ocean that separates us will not leave us untouched by this aggression.”

“So I will say what I know we all say, and I will say over and over again: The United States stands firmly with the Ukrainian people [and] in defense of the NATO Alliance,” Harris said.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

In remarks Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged Ukraine is “not in the Alliance,” nor is Ukraine defending NATO, because they are outside the partnership agreement of NATO.

“It is clear that Ukraine is not a member of NATO. We understand that. We have heard for years about an allegedly open door, but we have already heard that cannot enter it,” Zelensky said, according to a translation by Ukrainian state outlet Ukrinform. “It is true. It must be acknowledged. I am glad that our people are beginning to understand and count on themselves and on partners who are helping us. Ukraine does not currently claim the trigger of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. […] We understand that we are not in the Alliance.”

Harris’s curious statement comes after she has committed numerous communication flubs since becoming vice president. Harris in recent months has rehabbed her communications team amid “political resets” as a result.

On Thursday, Harris suffered an embarrassing moment in a press conference with the president of Poland in Warsaw.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” she responded to a question while bursting into a cackle. The question was about Ukrainian refugees pouring into Europe.

“It’s physically painful to watch her,” a Twitter account remarked.

“Kamala Harris tells a joke and bursts into laughter after being asked about Ukrainian refugees,” the RNC Research team tweeted.

“Our VP just shows up in the middle of a war and starts laughing. An international embarrassment,” another said.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø


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