Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg says the Alliance recognizes Ukraine's aspirations for NATO membership, but stresses the need to continue reforms, including the fight against corruption in the defense and security sectors.
"When it comes to Ukraine and NATO membership, we recognize the ambitions, the aspiration of Ukraine to become a NATO member. We work with Ukraine to help Ukraine move forward towards its transatlantic integration," Stoltenberg said on April 1 ahead of a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Washington, D.C. on April 3-4, 2019.
"And that's the reason why we have all the different frameworks, programs to provide help and support, to help Ukraine focus on the most important thing, and that is reform: to modernize to meet the NATO standards, we help Ukraine, we modernize their defense and security institutions, we have trust funds, we have training, we have different kinds of activities where we are helping Ukraine," he said.
According to him, NATO Allies also provide different kinds of bilateral support. "We strongly believe that this has to be the main focus: reform and to continue to modernize and to strengthen their defense and security institutions, including fighting corruption. So this will be our focus," he said.