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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attend a joint news conference following a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Kiev, Ukraine, July 10, 2017.

    Poroshenko Explains Why Ukraine Not to Apply for NATO Membership Yet

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    The possible future NATO membership of Ukraine will become a guarantor of the country's security, but Kiev won't apply for the membership yet because the country still has to introduce a number of reforms in order to meet the membership requirements, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Monday.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission presided by Poroshenko and NATO chief Jens Stoltenber was held in Kiev. The commission adopted the statement, claiming the readiness of both sides to work on enhancing cooperation between Kiev and the alliance.

    "Today we finally have the clear understanding that we can efficiently enhance national security only through cooperating with the NATO states, and the effective guarantee of the country's security is its future NATO membership," Poroshenko said at a briefing, following the meeting.

    However, he added that Kiev was not planning to apply for membership in the alliance, because Ukraine had to introduce a number of reforms in different sectors, including in defense and security, in order to meet NATO's criteria.

    "We are looking forward to reforms and have a clear schedule for what we have to do until 2020 in order to meet the membership criteria, because as of today we do not meet these criteria, since nothing has been done in these 20 years," Poroshenko said.

    Poroshenko expressed belief that jointly with NATO Kiev could build an "independent, stable and strong country."

    In December 2014, following the shift of power, Ukrainian lawmakers amended two laws in order to cancel the country's non-aligned status, opening the way for NATO membership and drawing criticism from Russia and other states. In September 2015, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko signed a new military doctrine in which one of the main objectives is the development of the country’s armed forces to bring them in line with NATO standards by 2020. In March 2016, Ukraine and NATO agreed on a set of reforms that the Ukrainian Armed Forces must undergo to comply with the alliance's standards, in order to continue the road map on defense-technical cooperation signed in December 2015.

    Despite Kiev's aspirations to become part of the alliance, NATO officials have repeatedly stressed that the country needs to implement a wide range of reforms before pursuing membership to the Alliance.

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    NATO, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine
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