NATO updated the information on its official website, adding Ukraine to the list of states that aspire to become members, alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Macedonia.
"It is very important. NATO has recognized Ukraine's status as an aspirant country. Step by step, we are approaching a full membership of the Alliance," Deputy Speaker of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada Irina Herashchenko wrote on Facebook.
The recognition of the aspirant-country status is the first step to become a member of NATO. The aspirant countries may be invited to take part in the Membership Action Plan (MAP), which demonstrates their ability to meet the commitments of possible future membership in the bloc.
Ukraine began its cooperation with NATO soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, though it has long enjoyed a non-aligned status. Following the Euromaidan events and a snap presidential election in 2014, Ukraine renounced its non-aligned status.
In June 2016, Ukrainian authorities indicated that the membership of NATO was a foreign policy objective, which, according to experts, is not likely be achieved in the next 20 years.