NATO explains that naming Ukraine an aspirant country doesn't mean a change in the Alliance's policy vis-à-vis the country, but it is only an update of the information on its website "to better reflect reality."
"We've seen reports in Ukraine suggesting there's been a change in NATO policy, or a decision. Of course, there has been no change in policy at NATO. NATO's policy remains the same," an official NATO representative told an UNIAN correspondent in Brussels.
"There has been a change in Ukraine's policy, which the website reflects. We simply amended the information of the website to better reflect reality," he said.
In this connection, the NATO representative asked to "make that point to colleagues and amend the information" correspondingly.
As was reported, NATO's policy towards Ukraine was stipulated in the 2008 Bucharest Summit Declaration.
"NATO welcomes Ukraine's and Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO. Both nations have made valuable contributions to Alliance operations. We welcome the democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia and look forward to free and fair parliamentary elections in Georgia in May. MAP [Membership Action Plan] is the next step for Ukraine and Georgia on their direct way to membership. Today we make clear that we support these countries' applications for MAP," it said.
As UNIAN reported, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and other politicians welcomed the fact of incorporating Ukraine in the list of the aspirant countries on NATO's website. "I am grateful for the firm support of Ukraine, for which one of the key priorities of national security is to achieve the criteria for membership in the Alliance," Poroshenko said.
Until March 9, 2018, NATO's website did not have information about Kyiv's membership aspirations, although a relevant decision was approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on June 8, 2017. The Ukrainian side has repeatedly asked the NATO leadership to update Ukraine's information on the Alliance's website, reflecting that Kyiv is aiming to become a member of the Alliance.