Ukraine needs to focus on reforms and this will bring it closer to membership in NATO, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, reports Evropeiska Pravda.
Commenting on the question of Ukrainian President Zelensky to Biden, "why is Ukraine not yet in NATO?", Stoltenberg recalled that in 2008 at the Bucharest summit the Alliance decided on the future membership of Ukraine. But he stressed that Kyiv should focus its efforts on carrying out reforms.
"We support this decision and all the decisions of this summit. But the focus now must remain on reforms. And I welcome the Prime Minister's clear message on the need to continue reforms to make sure that Ukraine has democratic, political control over its defensive institutions and armed forces, continues to fight corruption and strengthens democratic institutions," Stoltenberg said.
The NATO’s Secretary General stressed that the implementation of reforms is not only "good for Ukraine" but also brings it closer to NATO membership.
He added that he "cannot name a specific date (for Ukraine's accession) " but can assure that he will "support Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations and support Ukraine's path to NATO."
Stoltenberg recalled that Ukraine is recognized as "a graduate student" of the Alliance and NATO members support Kyiv's efforts to join the bloc.
He stressed that NATO enlargement and open-door policies would be discussed at this year's NATO leaders' summit in Brussels and would be at the heart of NATO's future projects for the next decade.
"NATO's doors remain open," Stoltenberg concluded. Last June, Ukraine was granted the status of NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner.